TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Once an abandoned village falling into oblivion, the Ke Li military dependents' village (蛤蜊兵營) in Changhua County, a region in central Taiwan, has now become a popular destination for young people looking either for a sense of nostalgia, or for an ‘Instagrammable’ picture.
Back in the 1960s, hundreds of discharged soldiers and their family called the village with 11 houses home. Clam farms were set up near the village for soldiers and their family to make a living on their own, and as it was located by the seashore, soldiers had also the responsibility of patrolling the coastline.
The village was built by the Veterans Affairs Council with an aim of settling discharged soldiers and their family who previously came to Taiwan in 1949 following the defeat of the Kuomintang-led nationalist government by the Communists in China.
However, with the operation of the Changhua Coastal Industrial Park in the mid-1990s which pushed the coastline at least 10 kilometers westward, the Ke Li military dependents' village no longer functioned as a patrolling station.
Furthermore, the construction of Provincial Highway 17 replaced the clam farms on which veterans and their family depended their livelihood, and the village hence fell into a decline.
After the houses were abandoned one by one and the once lively community was forgotten, only gusts of sea breezes could stir the trees and make a sound in the empty village.
It was not until 2008 when the village was designated as a cultural site by the county government that efforts were made to preserve the houses.
As of now, the village, with the symmetrical housing structure and peeled walls containing bricks and memories, seems to have found its purpose of existence again.
Eleven almost identical houses stand side by side, some of which are well preserved (picture), others are left only with walls (Teng Pei-ju)
The painted wall shows how important clams used to be for the villagers (Teng Pei-ju)
The window frames show the housing structure of the buildings (Teng Pei-ju)