Liugongjun and Wooden Trough Bridge

Since 1740 (the 5th year of the Qianlong era), Kuo Hsi-liu had dedicated himself to building irrigation canals for fields in Xinyi and Songshan of Taipei. He started with Shikong Tunnel but was not able to complete it. The tunnel’s construction would progress with the help of residents from five villages in Dapinling in 1753 and was completed in 1760 (the 25th year of the Qianlong Era), and it had since distributed water from Qingtan River. The most difficult part of the tunnel’s construction was bringing the water drawn from Qingtan River over the river’s currents to Wulixue River (nowadays Jingmei River). The entire river-water distribution facility was completed in 1761. The facility used a U-shaped bridge that was composed of wooden boards and supported by 47 wooden stakes embedded in a riverbed, and the bridge distributed water to Wulixui River. The bridge was called “Kingbue” (or the “Wooden Trough”). Today’s Jingmei Street, which lies at the end of then-bridge, was originally called “Kingbe” (the End of the Wooden Trough); the part of Zhongxing Road in Xindian that lies close to Jingmei River was called “Jingtou” (the Head of the Wooden Trough)”

The wooden trough bridge provided the only route through which residents traveled between local rivers. However, because the bridge was frequently damaged, it could not distribute water for irrigation. Kuo Hsi-liu solved this problem by using a water cylinder to drill openings at the bottom of the bridge, overlapping them, and embedding them in the riverbed to distribute water. But this improvement was offset by a flood during a typhoon in 1765, which Kuo felt depressed about even after his death in that year. Two years later (the 32nd year of the Qianlong era), Kuo’s son, Kuo Yuan-fen, inherited his father’s vocation, using V-shaped sharp-edged wooden troughs instead to deliver water while preventing pedestrian entry. Kuo’s irrigation canals could therefore distribute water to fields in eastern Taipei, just like it had done before. These canals are collectively known as the “Liugongjun canal system” to commemorate its architect, Kuo Hsi-liu.

  By around 1800 (during the reign of Emperors Jiaqin and Daoguang of the Qing Dynasty), silt had accumulated at Duchuantou (Head of the Ferry Port) in Xizhikou of Jingmei, forcing ferries to dock near the wooden trough bridge and making Kingbeding Street (which spanned between Jingmei River and pork shops in Jingmei Public Market) a bustling place. The area beneath the bridge where ferries dock was called “Jianjiaotan.” The wooden trough bridge was the first bridge to have crossed Jingmei River, connecting the present-day Zhongxing Road in Xindian and Jingmei Street on the other side. It was merely used to distribute water; ferries were the only means to travel between both sides of Jingmei River.

※ 感謝鄭之瑜(Kat Chamberlain)老師協助本文翻譯校閱。
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何文賢 / He Wen-hsien

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