Famous old homes in Shanghai
Updated: 2016-02-20 03:13
By Zhou Wenting in Shanghai(China Daily USA)
Shanghai has about 4,000 Western-style townhouses, of which more than 100 are classified as historical heritage sites. Domestic merchants and foreigners had built most of these villas between the 1920s and 40s, and these homes are usually adorned with exquisite furnishings that tell the tales of old Shanghai.
But apart from their charming facades and furniture, many of them have become landmarks as they have been home to notable personalities throughout history. Here are some of the most famous people who have lived in these iconic residences.
Soong Mei-ling and Chiang Kai-shek wedded in 1927.
A political powerhouse
The French-style garden villa at the intersection of Xuhui district’s Dongping and Hengshan roads was once owned by the Soong family, one of the most powerful families in early 20th century China.
One of daughters in the Soong family, Soong Mei-ling, married Chiang Kai-shek, the political and military leader of the Kuomintang. This particular home was where Chiang and Soong once resided.
Chiang led the Kuomintang for five decades and was head of state of the Chinese Nationalist government between 1928 and 1949. Soong, who graduated from Wellesley College in the United States, was a debutante in Shanghai. The two met at a party held by Soong’s brother Soong Tse-ven. Chiang and Soong tied the knot in Shanghai in 1927 and more than 1,300 celebrities and distinguished figures attended the extravagant wedding ceremony.
The villa, which has brown-brick walls, became part of the Middle School attached to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 1958 and is currently used as a school office building. An upright or grand piano is placed in each room and the big room on the first floor is used as a venue for students’ performances and parties.
“All my peers know about the history of the building. We feel kind of special playing the piano in such a place,” says Luo Linjie, a student of the school.
The south-facing room on the second floor that comes with a large terrace used to be Chiang and Soong’s bedroom. It is currently being used as an administrative office.
Address: 9 Dongping Road
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