Now and Then

  • Population: 11,203; Male: 5846; Female: 5357. (As of June 2021)
  • Land area: 294.13 hectares
  • Number of households: 5,133
  • Neighborhood communities: 29

Four hundred years ago, the Keelung River and the Tamsui River met in the present Yuanshan area, with downstream zones of water or sandbank. However, as the sandbanks advanced and merged to form a unique large area on the west of Shezi, in the early days, Shezi was an “island” of sandbank, also known as Huludao, where people from Massauw settled.

In 1694, a major earthquake occurred in Guandu, causing the soil to liquefy and the river to rise, forming Kangxi Taipei Lake. At that time, the low-lying Shezi was submerged by the lake and sank below it. Shezidao, at that time, Massauw and other aborigines from three tribes lived on the lower banks of the Keelung River, that is, they moved to Shilin and Tianmu. Once the lake water gradually receded, the land (sandbank) re-emerged. With the continuous siltation of the Tamsui River and the Keelung River, people continued to settle in the present Hougangcheng, Huludu, Shezi, Xizhoudi, Xishawei, Fuzhou and other places.

Around 1750s, the environment of Shezi was stable, and the number of Han people who came to live increased. They lived in Hougangcheng, Huludu, Lunzaiding, Sanjiaopu, Shezi, Xizhoudi, Xishawei, Fuzhou and other places respectively, and developed independent living circles over times.

In the 1880s, the sandbanks were connected to each other due to siltation, and their shapes were similar to those of the present, leaving Fanzaigou and Daxundong as separate areas.

In 1904, the Japanese District Map clearly described the appearance of Shezi. Also due to the geographical division, the hinterland was not large, and most of exchanges and settlements depend on the living circles in the nearby area, or the residents would have to shop and seek assistance at nearby larger markets in Daxundong. In terms of religious belief, Baosheng Dadi of Daxundong has become the spiritual sustenance of the residents in Shezi area. The residents at Xizhoudi prayed at Xianse Temple as their spiritual support, while residents of Fuzhou area regarded Yonglian Temple as their belief center. Guandu Matzu Pilgramage across from Tamsui River was also a major religious faith event around Shezi area. At that time, the residents were mainly from Tongan in Quanzhou, separately occupied various regions of Shezi. The residents in Chungchoupu area were mostly of Li family of Duishan. There is also the Li family ancestral hall at Xizhoudi, which belongs to another branch of Li family of Yanlou.

Shezi is located between the Keelung River and the Tamsui River. During the Qing Dynasty, the residents’ life primarily relied on fishery and water transportation, where Shezi near the river has also been endowed with benefit to develop as a hub in this popular network. The bank of partial section of the Keelung River is low in terrain and has groundwater, which is suitable for diverting to irrigation. The bank of partial section of the Tamsui River is higher in altitude and is mostly dry, only suitable for cash crops such as vegetables and fragrant flowers. Such issue of being a dry land was not overcome until the period of Japanese Colonial Rule.

In 1926, the Japanese used electric motors to pump river water in Hougangcheng area, and built Shezi canal, so that many dry lands in Shezi eventually had water for irrigation, gradually transforming it into fertile land that could be cultivated. Various industries in Shezi, therefore, became more developed and the quality of life improved accordingly. In 1936, Shezi Suspension Bridge was built to make it easier for local residents to travel to Shilin New Street.

In 1955, Yanping Cross-Bridge was built across Fanzaigou, whichi further improved the convenience of transportation between Shezi and Daxundong. On the north side, there were riverbank ferries to and from Daxundong and Shilin, and on the south side, the riverbank ferries were to and from Chengziliao and Guandu. Also, there were ferries at Shezi, Xizhoudi and Xishawei. There were also duckeries, coal mining, clam aquafarm and other industries along the Keelung River, which were also important sources of income for Shezi residents. The traditional settlement of Shezi was concentrated on the south side of Fu’an Elementary School and the area of Zhen’an Temple. The houses built by outsiders were mainly between Kuntian Pavilion and Lane 2, Section 8, Yanping North Road. The main deity of Kuntian Pavilion is Zhongtan Yuanshuai, attracting many devoted followers. After 1949, in addition to the original residents, many people migrated from central and southern parts of Taiwan to live and work at Shezi, and brought with them the deities of their beliefs from their hometowns to worship, establishing places such as Gonghe Temple and Beixing Temple.

400 years of history has divided Shezi into 11 traditional settlements of different living circles due to different geographical and spatial characteristics and industrial development status, as described below:

A. Hougangcheng

Located between the 4th and 5th sections of Chengde Road and the Keelung River, this area was connected and a part of Shezi in the early days. It was only after the Keelung River was engineered of river cutoff that the region was separated. Traditional residents were mainly from Tong’an, with Jingyou Temple as their center of faith.

Hougangcheng is adjacent to the Keelung River and has a relatively low terrain. It was a paddy field area in the early days. According to the 1904 Japanese District Map, Shezi canal was built during this period of Japanese Colonial Rule. Near the intersection of the Keelung River and Fanzaigou, there was ferries, transporting between Jiantan, Daxundong and Huludu in the early days, which were referred to as “Sanjiao Ferries" because of its location between the place called “Sanjiaodu”. After the Keelung River was cut off in the 1970s, the ferries no longer existed.

In 1939, a Shezi Suspension Bridge was built, crossing the Keelung River, making it possible to walk back and forth between Shilin and Hougangcheng. From then on, a road in Shilin leading to Shezi, Sanjiaopu and other places was built and is now called Danan Road.

From the 1960s to the 1970s, many factories settled in the area and were established between Hougang Street and Chengde Road. Many social houses were built one after another, and many are still there in Tonghe Street. At that time, the flood control measures of the Keelung River were still not perfect, and the design of the first floor raised as a half upper deck was quite a distinctive feature and Fude Temple of Hougang was a ferry port near the old Keelung River in the early days. Once the Keelung River was cut off and diverted, this distinctive design feature can no longer be observed or experienced.

B. Huludu

Located on both sides of the 5th section of Yanping North Road, Fanzaigou separated Daxundong and Shezi in the early days. In 1978, Fanzaigou was buried, leaving only part of water zone of the area. At present, part of water zone of Fanzaigou can still be seen at the underpass of National Highway No. 1 near Huanhe North Road. There is the Fude Temple of Jiantan behind the fire department in Lane 1, Section 5, Yanping North Road.

C. Duzaitou

The area around Alley 65, Lane 22, Shezi Street is the location of Fude Temple of Duzaitou. In the early day, the front of the temple was the intersection of Fanzaigou and Tamsui River, which served as the location of the ferry port. After Fanzaigou was filled up in 1978, a building was built on the former site of Fanzaigou in front of the ferry port; thus,there was no early trace.

D. Shezi

Shezi is a high-lying terrain in the area and provides a rather stable environment. It was developed into the Massauw settlement hundreds of years ago. It was around the area from Shezi market to Shefu Temple. In the early days of Shefu Temple, there were waterways to and from the Keelung River, and sampans were extended inland along Lane 210 of Shezhong Street beside the temple. The area around Shefu Temple was the settlement center in the early days, but now, it has moved to the place around Yanping North Road and Shezhong Street.

E. Sanjiaopu

It is mostly around Shezi Elementary School. There is the Fude Temple of Yongping in Lane 258, Section 6, Yanping North Road, at the side gate of the school, since the years of Qianlong reign, which proves that this area was developed very early. The nearby Shezi Elementary School was built as early as 1902, located on the edge of the early Sanjiaopu settlement, near Lunzaiding, Xizhoudi, Shezi, Duzaitou, Huludu and Gangzaicheng. It facilitates schooling of children in these areas.

F. Lunzaiding

In the early days, it was a slightly uplifted land, facing the Tamsui River. Later, flood control dikes and roads were built, leading to the collapse of traditional settlements. At present, the traditional settlement of Lunzaiding is located on the south side of Lane 368, Section 6, Yanping North Road and Lane 458 of Shezhong Street. Across the road opposite the 6th section of Yanping North Road (south of the 6th section of Yanping North Road) is a Fude Temple, which is a shrine dedicated to Earth God for the early Lunzaiding settlement, namely the Fude Temple of Lunzaiding.

G. Xizhoudi

It is located in Lane 106 and Lane 107 of Section 7 of Yanping North Road. It is separated from Lunzaiding by both sides at the mid-section of Shezi, which was within the water zone more than 100 years ago. Xizhoudi was once surrounded by water on the north, east and south sides. Later, it was silted up with the east side filled up to connect with Lunzaiding. In the early days, there were ferries to and from various places at Xizhoudi, with developed waterways and paddy fields near the Keelung River, which was a place with more active regional economy. Around the 1950s, there was also the Imperial Palace Theater in this area, which showed the degree of economic activities at Xizhoudi. In addition, there was the ancestral hall of Li Family of Yanlou in Lane 62, Section 7, Yanping North Road. There was also a ferry port near the Tamsui River, along with many fully intact three-sided courtyard houses. All these show that the settlement at Xizhoudi was once a place with developed industries and stable economy. In 1970, the settlements at Xizhoudi and its west side were designated outside the dike and became the forbidden areas. Since then, the government has stopped injecting funds into public construction, resulting in receding local development.

H. Xishawei

Early settlements were separated into the upper and the lower section of Xishawei. The upper Xishawei is located around Fu’an Elementary School, while the lower Xishawei is located near Zhen’an Temple. In the early days, the population was mostly farmers of paddy fields. From 1960s to 1970s, outsiders began moving in, and many workers and houses were built one by one, creating a sense of disorder; hence, the name “five passers-by” (people from all around). The traditional settlement was concentrated on the south side of Fu’an Elementary School and the area of Zhen’an Temple. The houses built by outsiders were mainly between Kuntian Pavilion and Lane 2, Section 8, Yanping North Road. The deity of Kuntian Pavilion is Zhongtan Yuanshuai, attracting many followers and the place became the center of faith for Xishawei settlement.

I. Fuzhou

Fuzhou is also separated into the upper and the lower section of Fuzhou, where the upper section includes the area near the Keelung River and between the old Shuangxi River and the estuary of Huanggang River. As for the lower section of Xiafuzhou settlements, they were distributed in a belt zone along the early water canal. In the early stage, it was dry land, surrounded by paddy fields, which were used to be part of the Keelung River. In the early days, there were ferries crossing the Lower Baxian on the other side of the Keelung River. The upper Fuzhou has a shrine of Earth God, namely Jing’an Temple, plus, there is a cultural and historical building, called Xiaode Hall of Wang Family. The lower Fuzhou has a shrine of Earth God, called Fu’an Temple.

J. Chungchoupu

The first half of Section 9 of Yanping North Road is Chungchoupu. The residents in this area are mainly surnamed Li and belong to the Li clan of Duishan. Compared with Shezi area outside the dike, Chungchoupu settlements were spatially arranged in order, giving it a sense of quiet environment, which was rarely impacted and influenced by the slow public construction outside the dike, since it was probably due to the maintenance by the local Li clan’s effort. [Li Chungji] the Old House is still intact and a rare ancient housing example in Shezi area. The area near the floating line in Chungchou is low-lying land and subject to flooding. After 1970, the government built the embankment and stopped flooding. In the early days, Chungchou planted Sophia japonica along the Tamsui River to be sold as income.

K. The Floating Line

The floating line is at the end of Shezi, located at the intersection of the Keelung River and the Tamsui River. In the early days, it was a sandbank of unstable terrestrial environment with only few people lived there. Now, with a more stable land environment, Taipei University of Marine Technology was established here in 1966. At present, the government has set up observation decks on the dikes at the intersection of the Keelung River and the Tamsui River. Looking over the mouth of Tamsui River, one would see Guanyin Mountain and Guandu scenic spot. Not far from the waters, there was a sandbank in the early days, which was originally a ferry port for transporting coffins to Guanyin Mountain, and the locals called it “the ferry for the dead". Later, the silt was removed during dredging in the waters, and now the site is no longer seen.

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