June 1st, 2017


Russian sites on old aerial maps of Shanghai

Here is a selection of Russian-related locations in Shanghai on the 1948 aerial maps from Tianditu. The selection focuses on the sites that have changed or completely disappeared; it does not include the two Orthodox churches, Russian shopping arcades and Russian-built apartment houses that have survived to this day.

The Russian Club on Avenue Foch (demolished to give way to the Yan'an elevated highway):

The Russian Club in the 1930s:

The Russian cabaret Arcadia on Route Doumer (demolished in the 1990s to build a larger building):

Arcadia in the 1940s, as the site of the Miss Shanghai beauty pageant:
Rare dancers and tables.jpg

The Gardenia cabaret opened by Alexandr Vertinsky on Yuyuan Road:

Gardenia in 1937:

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Due Yuesheng's residence – and more luxury nearby

Du Yuesheng's residence was on Rue Wagner, No. 216. A while ago I showed the house on the aerial maps.



The 1939 map shows the footprint of this double property No. 214–216:

It was curious to see the residence of the most formidable gangster in Shanghai, so I looked closely at the supremely detailed aerial shots posted by the flickr acount China in Old Days:

The houses in front are twin courtyard mansions in traditional Shanghai style, behind a high wall, with a single gate, a big shared yard and a garage. Behind them, also on the property, there are twin three-story mansions in another variation of Shanghai style, with balconies all along the facade.

This property is shared in equal parts with Zhang Xiaolin, the partner in crime. Their names appear regularly in the street directories for 1934–1939:

According to Frederic Wakeman's Policing Shanghai, "At this same time Du purchased Portuguese citizenship and made the French Concession his own personal headquarters. In 1925 he and Zhang Xiaolin together built a three-storied western-style residence divided into two screened off areas on a large two-mu lot on Rue Wagner in the French Concession. Each of Du's three wives had her own floor in the house, and when Du later took a Beijing opera singer as his fourth wife she had to move into a separate residence at Rue Lafayette. The first wife, whom he married in 1915, was unfertile and they had to adopt a boy. The two concubines, both from Suzhou and fifteen years old at the time, were originally given to Du by friends; they bore him six sons. His fourth wife gave birth to a girl."

One Chinese website claims this photo is of Du's mansion prior to its destruction, but it looks a lot more like the Donghu Lu property:

Continued in the next post...