May 23rd, 2020

Erratum: Kenlion ≠ Arcadia


1939 map: Virtual Shanghai.

A prompt to look deeper into the location of the old Dabelstein residence, called Kenlion, led to a curious discovery. Turns out, it was the former Dabelstein residence – which used to be located on the west side of today's Fumin Road between Julu and Changle Roads – that later became the Columbia Country Club, the Russian Cabaret Artistique Chateau des Fleurs, and lastly the headquarters of the Star Motion Picture Co. The mansion with a fanciful footprint is in the top left part of the above map.

Here are some photographs of Kenlion soon after its completion, published in the Christmas issue of Mina Shorrock's Social Shanghai in 1908:


[See the rest of the entry...]





The pattern on the windows in the last image is also discernible in this group photo taken on the steps of the Chateau des Fleurs in 1926:


Clearly, the gentlemen are standing on the right side of the curved stairs:


Kenlion was built in 1907. This architectural drawing was published in The Building News in December 1906. Back in those days, steep hills began right at Rue Ratard! :-)


Here comes the erratum. The map snippet at the top also includes the Russian cabaret Arcadia (lower right corner, misspelled ARCADTAR). I assumed this establishment opened in the former Dabelstein residence, but evidently not, for it was located diagonally from it. The buiding that became Arcadia was originally the residence of Mr and Mrs E. C. Allan, who lived here from 1925 to 1937. Edwin Chester Allan was an American bullion and exchange broker, and a member of the Shanghai Stock Exchange; he was still in Shanghai as late as 1947.

We have many partial photos of Arcadia, but none of the whole building.

Open-air seating and stage during the Miss Shanghai contest in 1940:




Images: A. T. Hull, Jr.

The corner of the building:

Image from Coca-Cola Archives, collected by cby.