After the premature death of her husband, Lady Zhou Juan (1788-1846) became well regarded for preserving her chastity, raising her children like a devoted mother and remaining filial to her parents-in-law. In 1850, Governor General of Fujian and Zhejiang Liu Ke commissioned a gate to be built by the Ministry of Rites and Education in commemoration of Lady Zhou’s exemplary life. Originally the gate with four columns, three lateral sections and three levels of stone was completed in 1861. Parts of the first and second levels collapsed during an earthquake in 1897. A renovation by the Taipei City Government in 1992 has helped restore it as an important local landmark.
Beitou Hot Spring Public Bath (Beitou Hot Springs Museum)
The Beitou Hot Spring Public Bath dates from the early days of Japanese colonial rule. The Japanese traditionally believed hot springs to have healthful and therapeutic effects on habitues, but most bathhouses were too expensive for ordinary people to afford. The Taipei Prefectural Government construct of the Beitou Hot Spring Public Bath in 1911, and upon its completion in 1913, opened it to ordinary Japanese at reasonable rates.
The building was built of both bricks and wood. The first floor had walls of brick and concrete, with stained glass windows in the upper portion, while the second floor featured wooden clapboard siding. Vents were installed in the black tiled roof. The elegant building reminiscent of a British countryside villa, blends perfectly with its surroundings in Beitou Park.
Local community members succeeded in getting the bath declared a Class Three National Historical Site in 1997. Following renovations in 1998, the Taipei City Government reopened it as the Beitou Hot Springs Museum at which visitors are introduced to the building’s graceful architectural elements, general hot springs information, and the unique characteristics of hot spring baths in Taiwan.
Beitou Presbyterian Church
The Beitou Presbyterian Church, designed by Canadian missionary William Gauld in 1912, was established by Canadian missionary George Leslie Mackay. The structure is considered one of the oldest church buildings in Taipei. The congregation originally consisted largely of plains aborigines from the Beitou area. The building serves today as valuable historical evidence of Western religious development in Taiwan.
Built of red bricks and featuring a wooden frame in a style similar to British country churches, the church has exterior walls buttressed to protect it against earthquakes. It is the only surviving church designed by William Gauld in the 20th century.
Puji Temple of Beitou is a rare example of a temple of the Shingon sect of Japanese Vajrayana Buddhism in Taiwan. Originally named Tiezhen Temple, it was built in 1905 from donations by Japanese railway employees. It is dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy Avalokiteshvara, who serves as a guardian spirit of hot springs.
Constructed in Japanese style, the temple has a well-preserved framework. The main hall has a single-eaved gable-and-hip roof. The layout is almost perfectly square, with both a width and a depth of three kaijian (a traditional unit of measurement equivalent to the standard width of a single room). The roof stretches forward, forming a cover for the front entrance – a popular design feature during the Edo Period in Japan. The entire temple is built of quality juniper. The wooden brackets and curved tie beams are decorated with elegant carvings. The bell-shaped windows are especially worthy of note. The main hall, the stone Avalokiteshvara image and the stele dedicated to Taiwan Railway Administration director Murakami Shoichi are all of great historical value.
Old Taiwan Bank Dormitory
The Old Bank of Taiwan Dormitory in Beitou has three main buildings and a courtyard. The first building, situated closest to the road, was built around 1935, and originally served as the Shin Matsushita Hotel. The other two buildings, built around 1922 as the private villas of businessman Kozuka Kaneyoshi, were later purchased by Shin Matsushita and incorporated into the hotel grounds.
Around 1941, the Bank of Taiwan purchased the Shin Matsushita Hotel, using it as a club and lodge. Following World War II, it was converted into a dormitory for the employees of the Bank of Taiwan and their families.
The entire building is shaped similarly to a bridge and traverses a streambed, blending harmoniously with its natural surroundings, serving as a recreational venue of superlative quality. The building is highly valuable for its rare combination of Japanese exterior and Western decorative features.
The Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs