Cultural Affairs Bureau Sends Staffto Inspect Abandoned Buildingsin Mofan Street
On Mofan Street, a national historic building site at the East Gate of Jincheng, citizens reported that buildings with doorplate numbers 29 and 31 were dilapidated and dangerous, and tiles fell off every so often. As the safety of such buildings is questionable, local citizens urged the authorities to renovate and refurbish them. After an onsite inspection of these buildings and coordination meetings, the responsible staff of the Cultural Affairs Bureau would communicate with the owners as soon as possible and apply to the relevant units for the renovation fee in order to bring safety back to tourists and local citizens.
According to Director-General Hsi-long Li of the Cultural Affairs Bureau, there is always a painstaking story behind every historic building. These buildings stand in history, past and present, accompanying the efforts and growth of local people and accumulating brilliant and beautiful culture. The beauty of southern Fujian architecture in Kinmen attracts tourists from home and abroad. The beauty of ancient Western buildings is always refreshing to our eyes. However, buildings cannot withstand the ravages of time and the wearing away by wind and rain. Unoccupied buildings turn are deserted, abandoned and eventually collapse. Therefore, full use of revitalization and maintenance is the only way to retain these ancient Western buildings.
According to Hsiang-Kun Tsai, Chief of Dongmen Village, the old buildings at 29 and 31 Mofan Street are in great peril because they have long been out of repair. The cracked walls and broken tiles have been falling off, and their structural safety is questionable. According to local citizens, many tourists and locals pass through the street; if these slanting buildings suddenly collapse, the consequences are worse than anything imaginable. Therefore, they urge the authorities to help them solve the problem "right before our eyes".
Some local citizens recommended that road submergence is very common on Mofan Street as a result of the traffic. Therefore, buildings nearby are either cracked or incline. They hoped that the authorities put moveable road barrier at the entrance of Mofan Street to prevent vehicles from entry. If the traffic reduces, the submergence problem of road surface will also reduce.
After receiving the report of dangerous old buildings at 29 and 31 Mofan Street from citizens, responsible staff of the Cultural Affairs Bureau conducted an onsite inspection. After holding coordination meetings with the relevant units, the bureau decided to communicate with the owners immediately to discuss the rescue of these historic buildings, and to apply for funds to renovate the buildings in order to bring safety and beautiful back to the tourists and locals.
Information shows that Mofan Street is one of the national historic building sites located at the East Gate of Jincheng. It was an internal training field during the Qing Dynasty. With the recommendations of local gentries Hsi-Chi Fu and Tung-Wen Weng, they were built with funds raised from Overseas Chinese in South Asia in 1924. They built a total of 40 street houses lying horizontally and vertically along the street with a total length of about 75 meters. When construction was completed in 1925, Chairperson Fu named the street Mofan.
The meticulous and solid redbrick arched corridor is the most distinctive feature of Mofan Street. Unlike the fanciful street houses in Baroque style built in colonial Taiwan, the style of these street houses is clean and presents nothing superfluous. The architect was Ting-Yuan Wang, a native of Kinmen whose father was the famous master Yi-Shun Wang of the Hueiansidi Village. Influenced by the five bases architectural specification of immigrant cities in South Asia, Wang reserved a 5-foot aisle on the ground floor (resembling to Taiwan din-a-ka). The facade of the buildings is made with pure red bricks, and the window frames are varied. The parapet is decorated with indigo fencing, and there is a small balcony on the second floor of three units to distinguish some difference from the entire complex. The street was announced as a historic building site on 31 March 2003 to denote its cultural value and fully illustrate the relationships between Kinmen locals, immigrants from South Asia and the modern history of Kinmen.