After 1949, the local government used to launch a series laws and regulations to protect those old western-style houses and other private residences in Jiading, but many of them were still damaged during the Cultural Revolution. Some houses were expanded disorderly to hold more residents, which also broke the original design concept.
Fortunately, nowadays local authorities are taking measures to protect these valuable buildings and renovate them according to their original appearances. Some of the old houses have been listed as cultural heritages. They are like the containers of time, filled with endless stories to be discovered.
Old western-style houses are important part among classic constructions in Shanghai. Most of those beautiful foreign garden villas have a reputable history or a romantic story. They are considered as the “memory of the city.”
Before 1949, Jiading had altogether 46 western-style houses, including 28 in Jiading Town, 13 in Nanxiang Town and five in other areas. 34 houses had gardens with a total area of 14,981 square meters. After the foundation of PRC, most of the houses were handed to local hospitals, kindergartens, schools and police stations except 18 for residential house. Some of the masterpieces of architects even integrated the Chinese styles, and they are precious historic heritages of Jiading. Hidden among Chinese-style buildings, they are not only the highlights of the city, but also a symbol of an era.
Located on Jiading North Street, Zhu’s house was built in 1934. The house owner Zhu Limin was a manager of Fuda Flower Store at that time. The brick building has a total construction area of more than 200 square meters with two floors and six rooms. Doors and windows were made of cypress so that they didn’t deform throughout the time. The house has a garden with artificial hill and a lot of cypresses, so it’s called Zhu’s Garden by locals. A small road in front of its wall leads to North Xiatang Street.
The hosue of Ge Chenghui is located in the east of South Xiatang Street. Ge was a famous doctor and was the first of Jiading to get a doctorate in Yale University. The house was built by Ge’s nephew Ge Fuzhen. It’s composed of altogether five rooms and a stone mound in front of its door. There even used to be a tennis court in front of the house. It was used as the clinic of Ge when she returned. Her nephew Ge Fuzhen was the founder of Shanghai Ge’s Pharmacy on Wukang Road. He graduated from the Medical School of University of Michigan in 1940s.
The house of Chen Dechang is quite conspicuous on the street of Jiading Town. It’s located on 124 South Street and occupies about 1,325 square meters. It was built in 1934 and has three floors and more than 50 rooms. It looks like an inverted square table for eight people and is quite easy to find among the constructions nearby. It was occupied by Japanese invaders in the war and was used as a radio station. When the war ended, a Jiading local Qin Zhiqian established Jiading Citizen News and rent Chen’s house as the printing workshop.
The house of Gao Jieren is located in the north of Jiang’s Garden. It was built in early years of the Republican Period and occupies 1,219 square meters. The square brick piles holds five round serial arches on the first and second floors, and the on the piles there are Greek-style Dor-ic Orders. It has altogether 20 rooms. Since it was built with red and gray bricks, it looks red outside and is called “Red Building” by locals. The house owner Gao Jieren used to open Fengtai Flower Store in Tangjia Lane and then moved to Hangzhou.
The house of Tao Jiyuan (1905-1968) is located on 344 West Street. Tao was a famous Jiading entrepreneur during the Republican Period, especially good at stock investment. After earning a lot in stock market, he established Jiafeng Factory and Jiaxing Bank in the district and also invested a lot in local education.
The outer wall of Tao’s house is in the traditional shikumen style of Shanghai, while in the middle there is a pattern which was designed according to the style of former Shanghai Huashang Securities Exchange to display the special interest of the house owner. It occupies 686.7 square meters, combing Chinese and western construction styles. It was built in 1933 and has altogether four buildings with 30 rooms. The first building stands along the river, which was used for parking and storage. The second building has four rooms and was used as residence of driver, cook, body guard and babysitter. The third building is the main building of the property, including a grand living room and several bedrooms for the family. Expensive floors and tiles were used to show the identity of the owner. The fourth building has three rooms and was used as kitchen and dining hall. Behind the fourth building there is a garden with trees, artificial hill and a fish pond.
However, just four years after the house was built, the property was occupied by Japanese invaders and became the headquarters of its secret service organ.
Pan’s Residence is located inside Jiading Hotel on 100 Bole Road of Jiading Town. It was built in 1945. It’s a two-floor garden villa combing Chinese and western styles. The balcony is above the square front door, and two side doors stand on each side of the house. It belonged to a famous local educationist, editor and poet Pan Yangyao. After 1949, the house was donated to the government and became the office of Jiading County Committee of CPPCC. It was transferred to Jiading Hotel in 1987 and was renovated and listed as cultural heritage in 2003.