Taipei Air Station - 1966 - - - " What you have in the end are memories"......... Photo Courtesy of Richard Reesh.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Friends of China Club - Revisited Again

In a previous story, we talked about the Friends of China Club.

The Friends of China Club - photo courtesy of Bruce Rayle.

Being close to both the Union Building and the MAAG Headquarters, this club always had folks visiting it's bar and restaurant from the various US military and civilian organizations.
What always seems to occur when office folks get together?
I read in a story, a few years ago, that talked about this building being a key "listening post" for those interested in what the US was up to.  I don't have the dates the club was operational. It's gone today. No it sits on the grounds of the 228 Peace Park.

"Loose lips sink ships"  - is an American idiom meaning "beware of unguarded talk".

If you're an old hand, you will remember, just about everyone "drank" back-in-the-day.  Drinking was part of our military social structure.  Clubs were everywhere. 

After a couple of drinks, you were happy, felt good and thoughts just slid out of your mouth along with information that should have remained locked-up in the office files.

UPDATE  -  March 2012

A gentleman, TC Lin, left a Comment on a previous story, copied above.
He indicated that the old, Friends of China Club building was still standing.
TC Lin writes Poagao's Journal, which can be found here

He sent me these photos of the structure as it stands today.
Apparently, the old structure is now part of the 228 Memorial Park's Administration Buildings.

 Below, are two photos sent to me from TC Lin.  

Both are the old Friends of China Club facility, as it stands today.

The building is now partially hidden behind a tall wall.

Compare these two photos to the original photo from the 1950s, above.
It's interesting to find the old structure is still standing, being utilized today.
I suspect good material and concrete were used during it's construction.
I will try to get more photos, inside the these walls, when I return to Taipei. 

UPDATE - October 2013

This afternoon I got off the Taipei Metro at National Taiwan University Hospital Station and walked across the 228 Peace Park to Huai Ning Street, turned left and walked south.

On the corner of Bao Qing Road and Huai Ning Street, on the east side of Huai Ning, behind a cement wall, sits the old Friends of China Club.
The two buildings occupied by United States organizations, including HQ MAAG Taiwan, probably sat a few yards out into the present street area the blue and white bus is parked in this photo.  

The wall must be 7-8 feet tall, I couldn't see over the wall, so I stuck my camera along the top of the wall and took a few photos of the white building seen here.

The original door and steps were located in the area seen on the right side of this photo.

Nice view of the area of the old steps and door area of the Friends of China Club.

As I walked farther south on Huai Ning Road along the cement wall, I came to a driveway feeding into the grounds of the old club. 

The guard approached.  We asked if we might take some photos of the old club building.  We mentioned that the building he was guarding was, at one time "The Club" for the our military and civilian leaders in Taiwan.

The military and civilians from HQ MAAG Taiwan, worked in the large building just in front of the old club and civilians who occupied the other large building right next to the HQ MAAG building also frequented the facility.

The guard graciously accompanied us to the old club building and let us look around.  

It appears, the old front door and steps were removed some time ago, and new entrance doors were installed on the south side of the building.  The building is in remarkable shape considering it was constructed more than 60 years ago!

A photo showing both buildings which housed United States organizations.  The far building down the street was HQ MAAG Building Taiwan.  The Friends of China Club was located to the right of the power pole on the side street at end of the HQ MAAG Building.
This photo, from a Double 10 Parade in the 1950s.  The Friends of China Club was just to the right of the tree in the right side of this photo. These buildings are the same ones seen in the photo above.
 Here are more photos taken 27 October 2013.  The old Friends of China Club in Taipei.

As we came into the gate and turned to our left, looking north, we saw the old Friends of China Club facility.  I am not sure how large the original facility was, and/or if it included the building running along the right side of this photo.

I walked down the driveway seen here and into the "new" doors.

Just inside the lobby area of the club.  The old doors were located on the wall on the left side of this photo. 

I have no photos showing how the inside of the lobby looked in the 1950s  Consider, this photo is probably about like it looked back in the day.  It was a modern looking facility.

The "Grand Staircase" leading to the 2nd floor.

Looking out the "new entry/exit doors" from the original entrance area.

Standing on the "new" entry/exit door steps looking south toward the exit gate and guard house.

A final look at the old "Friends of China Club" facility.

We exited the gate area, turned left on Huai Ning Street and walked a few yards south to Ketagaian Boulevard and turned left (east.)  One block east,  at next corner (location of the Taipei Guest House) and Ketagaian Boulevard, was the 2013, Double 10 signage

I passed the sign a few days ago on a city bus about 9:00 PM.  The signage was lit up like a Christmas Tree, lights everywhere. most of them LED lights, which added sparkle and brightness to the display.  

It is beautiful when seen in darkness.

Beyond the signage, you see the old "East Taipei City Gate"

I think we have finally resolved the question of where the old Friends of China Club was located...  It wasn't torn down, as I always assumed.  It stands today, and we learned from the gate guard, it will probably stand for years to come. 

There must be someone reading this story who visited the club when it was in operation.

 We would love to have your thoughts on the club. 

The club was just down the street from hundreds of US military and civilian folks who would have frequented the club often.

 Please contact us ~

our Email address:


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Spratly Islands Dispute

If you're interested in Taiwan, you will probably remember the Spratly Islands by name, but if you're like me, chances are, you don't know much about the area.

The Spratly Islands with flags representing claims by country.

My friend Loren Aandahl found an interesting story in the NY Times.

Very unusual in it's presentation, filled with video.

I never seen a story presented in this way before.

The article, "A Game of Shark and Minnow" begins HERE.

It's worth watching..

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Magambo Club at Tainan

A reader of this blog has written regarding the name, Magambo Club.

 Clark Gable, Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly in the 1953 film, "Mogambo"

Although not the same spelling, could this film have had something to do with naming the Tainan NCO Club?

Both the Tainan Officer and NCO clubs were located off-base.

The Airman's Club, which was opened in (I believe) 1959-1960,  was in a wooden shanty on the south area of the base.  

 The Tainan Air Base Airman's Club ~ Not sure of the date

The building appears very close to being condemned.

The inside of the "MAAG Tainan Club" circa 1956.

Here's the question:  If this was a "MAAG" Club in 1956, was this the building the Magambo Club took over in later years? 
Do you recognize the room above, I see a Fire Place on the left side of this photo.  

Was there a Fire Place inside the Magambo Club?

No smoke stack in this photo of the Magambo club, probably taken later 1960's.

I have a letter from a woman who was at Tainan AB as a child with her family who writes about her times at the Magambo Club and the CAT Club during the 1958-1960 time period.

There are a few questions that need answers to clear-up the unknowns:

1.  When did the Magambo Club first open it's doors?

2.  Was the MAAG NCO Club the predecessor of the Magambo Club?

3.  If not, where was the MAAG NCO Club located in Tainan?

4.  What is the correct spelling for the "Magambo" Club?

5.  Where did the Magambo Club get it's name?

And, you may have a question...

Please leave your comment below.  

It would be nice to close the door on these unknowns.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Missing Your Taiwan Jacket?

Received a note this morning from Warren Litsinger: 


Recently, at a yard sale in New Mexico, I found a reversible jacket, velvet on one side and silk on the other, embroidered on the velvet side with dragons and crossed American and Taiwanese flags, with an embroidered map of Taiwan, with the following embroidered words: 2165 COMM, 62 TAIPEI 64, and the name "Blair," in quotes, on the breast panel. 

This item seems to have been made in Taiwan for a service member stationed in Taipei during the years 1962 to 1964. 

I was unable to find anyone with either the first or last name of Blair on your listings, but would like to know if this description jogs anyone's memory. 

 I would love to find the owner of this jacket or his relatives so that I can return the item to them if it would be desired. I will be happy to mail the item to the owner free of charge. 

My father was in the Army Air Corps in WW2 and I know how important service memorabilia are to those who have served. 

Thank you, 

Warren Litsinger 
Silver City, NM

Anyone with any information can write to us and we will get you in contact with Warren.