This blog was created for USASTRATCOM Long Lines Battalion Army personnel who served in Taiwan during the 1965-72 time frame. Specifically, those who lived and worked in and around Taipei are the target. If you worked at the Grass Mountain or Gold Mountain facilities or anywhere in downtown Taipei, we would like to hear from you. All are welcome to visit and contribute to this blog. Your comments and pictures are encouraged.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Grass Mountain Teen Club, Taipei, Taiwan

First, thanks to Rory O'Neil for his interest in many of this blog's posts. If it weren't for his initiative and determined effort, you good folks would not be reading this posting.

In addition, our appreciation goes to Tracy Kelley and Richard Longacre for information and pictures used in this post.

There is a Facebook page where many former military dependents and other residents of the area on Grass Mountain known as Shantzehou  get together online to discuss their memories of their lives in Taiwan. 

Starting in the early 1950s, The Bank of Taiwan began building on its land, many different types of Western style-housing  to accommodate the growing number of American  military families.

The historical significance of the Korean War on Taiwan can't be understated. From what I understand, the U. S.was about ready to cut loose ties with Chiang Kai-Shek after WWII proved his inability to lead all of China.

The Korean War proved that Taiwan  was of strategical importance in the Far East which led to the building up of the ports and air bases. Here came the Americans!

Photo  courtesy of Don Wiggins, USTDC blog

 Don has a Taiwanese contact who checks frequently for declassified pictures. This is a 1969 satellite photo showing our housing areas as well as much of Yangmingshan. Don also has a Facebook page where he moderates a Taiwan discussion group.

Then, Army Lieutenant Colonel, Scott Ellinger used his super-sophisticated software to point out the  Shantzehou housing areas as well as other landmarks, including my work station.

Photo courtesy of Scott Ellinger
This 1974 satellite photo shows the village in a much tighter picture.  The area where my wife and I lived is at the top of the photo with the light blue line indicating the main road through the village.  

The dark blue line is the main road to the Grass/Gold Mountain work sites on Jingshan Road.  For months I had thought it was the back road, but after following it from McDonald's on up, it made sense when Scott Ellinger pointed out the site.

The green line would be the street you men and women took to get to the Grass Mountain theater and snack bar/bowling alley.  There have been discussions of how many lanes there were and it ranges from one to three.  

We have no pictures of either building, but a contributor said his apartment was just a few steps from the theater.  Were there actually movies shown there on Saturday mornings? If any of you have pictures of these two buildings, we'd love to have a jpeg copy.

The red line is the back road to the complex and runs directly through "H" housing.  

Original PowerPoint courtesy of Scott Ellinger

So, here is the "H" housing area, the only one of the five areas most of us in the Signal Corps ever drove through. Some couples lived in apartment complexes near there.

in 1968, the white houses were very attractive, but the landscape looked like Mars. LTC Ellinger indicates the "then and now" pictures, showing these lovely homes in a mature neighborhood.

Circled is our third floor apartment on Daheng Road, not far from, "F" housing.  Rent was $70.00 per month. At that time, development was just beginning for individual homes.

LTC Elllinger talked his way past the gate guard and took the photo on the left. As you'll notice, he then placed his picture beside the one we took in 1968. Not much of a change, eh?

This picture was taken one morning in 1969 showing the front gate entrance to the Grass Mountain complex.

Photo courtesy of Gary and Amy Roske
During a trip back home in 2010, Amy Roske got as close as she could and took a picture of the front gate of the still-functioning work and barracks center. My good friend Gary sent us his wife's photo.
Photo courtesy of Larry Barton

It's still hard to believe, but the publication of this picture set off a chain reaction of research which still is adding links.

Larry had just crossed the road from his apartment in order to take a picture of the snow covered mountain in the distance.  

This was the winter of 1967.  It was by accident that he also included the partial photo of the Grass Mountain Teen Center sign.  

Scott Ellinger then began calculating where he thought Larry's picture had been taken.  

Scott's PowerPoint circled the building as it appears today.  We now knew for certain the location of the old Teen Club.  

Outlined in yellow is the original Grass Mountain Teen Club.  Someone had purchased it after 1979 and converted it into a spacious villa.  
Photo by Richard Longacre; submitted by Rory O'Neil

So, this is the Grass Mountain Teen Club as it appeared in 1970.  Gems like this are hard to come by and we appreciate Richard's generosity.  John, the nightwatchman, is shown here performing his duties.

Telephone book courtesy of Scott Ellinger

This phone book was purchased on eBay in order to show the increased military presence during the initial build up of troops oversees during the Vietnam War.  The various sections of Taipei are shown which should show an increasing population.  

The BOT housing areas along with their addresses and phone numbers are shown.  

Also included at the beginning of the Shantzohou section are the phone numbers for the movie theater, snack bar, as well as the phone number which was listed as the Teenage Club.

This is just a continuation of the names and addresses of the folks who lived in one of the four BOT housing areas. 

The purpose of this page is to show the non-existence of any military facilities in the Yamingshan area such as Grass Mountain, Gold Mountain, and other military related structures.  

By 1967, all of these sites mentioned above would have been included in the phone book under Yamingshan.

These pictures below are of the Grass Mountain Teen Club as submitted by Rory O'Neil.  Any other submitter will be indicated.  

The Sargent-At-Arms with the white handled cap gun restrains the eager teenagers. 

Beneath this sign passed many fine young men and women.

Notice the Jimi Hendrix poster on the right.

Any clues on this one?

Families attended the annual Halloween party.

The snack bar area was well equipped.

In the background are several pinball machines.  My folks would have found me here every day.

Your order please?

Add your own caption.

This is the old alley you folks would have taken to reach the movie theater and snack bar across the street.

Map courtesy of Kent

If the Taiwan government and Bank of Taiwan completed the renovations, all buildings shown in red would now be housing students from Mainland China.  

The H housing area is being conveted by the Taipei European School for expansion of its athletic facilities and classrooms. 

This is what remains or has taken the place of the old E Housing area on the east side of the main road.  It is the training center for the Bank of Taiwan.  

This is how the entrance to the center looks from the road.  


  1. Just curious about the photos above the snack bar, are they the Beatles?

  2. Victor, We couldn't find the Beatles, but saw plenty of pictures that were probably senior class photos. Ringo