Monday, October 18, 2010

Miyanoshita, Omiyacho 宮ノ下, 大宮町

Miyanoshita 宮ノ下 is the northernmost station on the Tansui line that could really be considered to be part of Taihoku city proper. Beyond that you get into the nearby towns of Shirin 士林, Hokuto 北投, and eventually Tansui 淡水.

This section from the 1945 US Army survey map shows Miyanoshita station, the surrounding district of Omiyacho 大宮町, the Taiwan Grand Shrine, Meiji Bridge 明治橋, and Maruyama 圓山 to the south.

This 1935 rendering shows an artistic impression of the same area.

The station was built in 1915. After 1945 its name was changed to Jiantan Station 劍潭, and in the 1950s it was closed down. The present-day Taipei MRT has a Jiantan Station but it is quite a bit further north than the original.

I haven't been able to find any photographs of the original station. It may have been very simple, since it does not seem to have been very busy. Near to the original station was a lumber mill, the Tansui-Taihoku highway, and a road leading up to the Taiwan Grand Shrine.

The Taiwan Grand Shrine (台湾神宮 Taiwan jinja) was originally built in 1901 as a Shinto shrine by the Japanese, who had gained control over Taiwan only six years earlier. It was enlarged over the years, growing in importance. In 1944 a passenger plane crashed nearby, and most of the complex was destroyed by fire. After the return of Taiwan to Chinese rule in 1945, the Taiwan Hotel (today's Grand Hotel) was built on the site. A few of the lanterns and stone sculptural features survive.

An undated postcard showing the road leading up to the shrine, with Torii gates and lanterns.

A photograph showing the entrance to the shrine. In the foreground is the Meiji bridge. To me it looks like the roads are paved and have concrete sidewalks. Note the vehicles in the foreground.

The Meiji Bridge 明治橋 was originally constructed in 1901 as a steel structure. In 1930 it was replaced by a new Art Deco-style bridge , which was completed in 1932. The new bridge was built of reinforced concrete, 120 meters long and 17 meters wide, with four brass lanterns set on posts. After retrocession, the bridge was renamed the Zhongshan Bridge 中山橋 after the founder of the Chinese Republic. The bridge stood until 2003, when it was cut into pieces and torn down by the city government. Apparently there are plans to rebuild it, perhaps in a new location as a historical museum piece, but so far (as of late 2010) nothing has materialized.

As can be seen above the bridge was a striking landmark. Rail traffic was carried by a more modest steel and concrete bridge just to the west, pictured below in an image from ca. 1926.

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