This area is a dense historic landscape, seen here from its northeastern corner, the rooftop of the Sun City 太阳都市花园. Fuxing Road in on the left in the distance; Fangbang Road is in the lower right corner.
[4. Fangbang Zhong Lu 方浜中路 (Middle Square Creek Road).]
4. Fangbang Zhong Lu 方浜中路 (Middle Square Creek Road).
Square Creek was not at all rectilinear and actually meandered through the walled city. It was paved over in 1906 and Fangbang Road emerged in the creek's path. Recently all the interesting streets to the north of it have disappeared, so I'll cover their histories in the book. A handful of buildings have escaped demolition: the Cultuvated Benevolence Convent, the Pear Garden guildhall and the Wanzhu Primary School.
684 Fangbang Zhong Lu 方浜中路684号.
706 Fangbang Zhong Lu 方浜中路706号. The lane behind this building is perhaps the narrowest in Shanghai.
578 Fangbang Zhong Lu 方浜中路578号. Modern additions made this building fantastically ugly outside and inside, but under the toilet tile and aluminum railing there is a very pretty mansion. It functioned as the Qianghua Paper Factory after the war, but it could have been built with a different purpose.
[5. Muqiao Jie 木桥街 (Wooden Bridge Street).]
5. Muqiao Jie 木桥街 (Wooden Bridge Street).
Another street originating from a bridge across Square Creek.
19 Muqiao Jie 木桥街19弄. Two elephants decorate the gateway of a small shikumen called Earned Pardon Lane 存恕里 (do I earn pardon for my awkward translations?).
Lane 28 Muqiao Jie 木桥街28弄. Joined Origins Lane (联源里).
A place where two properties come together (two families "joined origins"?) is marked by two boundary stones side by side.
[6. Xima Jie 西马街 (West Ma Family Street).]
6. Xima Jie 西马街 (West Ma Family Street).
This street was originally a bridge across Square Creek, named after the Ma clan, who were Hui Muslims and most likely settled in Shanghai in the middle of the nineteenth century.
Lane 30 Xima Jie 西马街30弄. Quiet and Distant Lane 静远里.
31 Xima Jie 西马街31号. The building is still inhabited by a lady named Xie whose father built and owned the whole house. In fact, there is a boundary stone with their name embedded in the corner. In the courtyard there used to be a garden, so overgrown that it attracted snakes! Mr Xie was in the wool business and owned several properties in Shanghai.
Some elegant door aprons in the corridor:
This inscription in the courtyard is possibly a variation of 素心正如此 开径望三益 – the last line in a poem of a Jin Dynasty poet Tao Yuanming. Placed above the gate, it means "May you have fortune in a most beautiful way." Thanks to Didier Pujol for the translation!
40 Xima Jie 西马街40号. The residence of the family Zhou reportedly was used as an inerrogation center during the Japanese occupation; the infamous secret police agent Hakuro Kohinata was in charge.
Lane 44 Xima Jie 西马街44弄. A sealed ground well sits at the end of the lane.
[7. Yiqing Jie 贻庆街 (Bestowing Congratulations Street).]
7. Yiqing Jie 贻庆街 (Bestowing Congratulations Street).
Most of the shikumen compounds on this short street date back to the year 1912. I think this is due to the fact that this area received a kickstart when the city wall was torn down and the old town's west began to be built up and populated.
18 Yiqing Jie 贻庆街18号. A boundary stone indicating a shared property of the families named Yao and Fang.
Lane 19 Yiqing Jie 贻庆街19弄. Yiqingfang 贻庆里, built in 1912.
Lane 28 Yiqing Jie 贻庆街28弄. Amassed Prosperity Lane 聚兴里, built in 1912.
Lane 63 Yiqing Jie 贻庆街63弄. A Buddhist door.
[8. Jixiang Nong 吉祥弄 (Auspiciousness Lane).]
8. Jixiang Nong 吉祥弄 (Auspiciousness Lane).
Auspiciousness Lane meanders between Fangbang Road and Jinjiafang.
10–14 Jixiang Nong 吉祥弄10–14号 has some cool geometric designs.
15 Jixiang Nong 吉祥弄15号. A stone marker from 1918 declares the measurements of the lot (I think). It sits next to 15 Jixiang Nong, but belongs to the southern wall of No. 578 on Fangbang Road (see above).
63 Jixiang Nong 吉祥弄63号.
65 Jixiang Nong 吉祥弄65号.
67 Jixiang Nong 吉祥弄67号.
[9. Songxue Jie 松雪街 (Pine Snow Street).]9. Songxue Jie 松雪街 (Pine Snow Street).
Songxue Street marks the eastern edge of the threatened historic area, and I worry about the hidden church on its west side.
78 Songxue Jie 松雪街78号. One of a kind in the old town. Grace Church 天恩堂 was built in 1899, then rebuilt and renovated in 1933 by the American mission. In 1937 it served as the only western medical dispensary in the occupied Chinese City. In the Communist years it became a kindergarten.
Lane 90 on Songxue Jie 松雪街90弄 was once called something like Virtuous Sayings Lane 云德里.
106 Songxue Jie 松雪街106号 (I think). A home filled with antique wares for the Yuyuan market.
[10. Wengjia Nong 翁家弄 (Weng Family Lane).]
10. Wengjia Nong 翁家弄 (Weng Family Lane).
Wengjia Lane and Wengjia Branch Lane are very small streets, partially built up with socialized housing (公房), but there are some curious markers here and there.
70 Wengjia Nong 翁家弄70号. The sign above the gate is possible to decipher
The stone marker for Respect and Happiness Hall 敬乐堂. This chicken quit!
Jiang 将 family property marker is used as a step:
[11. Zhaofang Nong 肇方弄 (Zhaofang Lane).]
11. Zhaofang Nong 肇方弄 (Zhaofang Lane).
At the western edge of the demolition zone is the tiny Zhaofang Lane that already only has one side.
Lane 15 Zhaofang Nong 肇方弄15弄. Here the Comfort and Harmony Lane 慰和坊 is seen through the concrete grill of the public housing project opposite.
Lane 65 Zhaofang Nong 肇方弄65弄. This art-deco lane compound Zhaofangli 肇方里 states the year of construction on top – 1931 A. D.