1942 Street

The first phase of Movie Town features “1942 Street”, depicting Republican Era buildings in Chongqing as featured in Feng’s movie “Back To 1942”. A total of 91 buildings showcase the different architectural styles which prevailed at the time, from the four cities along the Yangtze River: Chongqing, Wuhan, Nanjing and Shanghai. Of the 91 buildings, 20 have been restored exactly as they were in the old pictures, e.g.Yao Lu, the former residence for Chiang Kai-shek, Xishan Bell Tower, Chongqing Cathay Theatre, and Shanghai Rong Guang Theatre; each building with a long history which evokes old memories.

Activities & Performance

A TOUR AROUND · 1942 Street

A-06 No.2 Minzhu Road Prototype: Jianguo Bank of Chongqing As many banks were relocated to Chongqing during the Second Sino-Japanese War, commercial banks started to open there. In the year of 1941, the head quarter of Jianguo Bank was officially opened to the public by Liu Qintang. It was only a house made of bamboo and mudbricks. With the slope of water alley on its left, it was a challenging task for the designer to build a bank with such limited land space. Besides, there were many people and traffic passing through the alley every day. Therefore, in order to avoid the traffic yet maintain a beautiful structure, it was reconstructed in 1944 into the round building that we see nowadays.
A-20 No. 16, Minzhu Road Prototype: Chongqing Medicinal Association The association was located in Chu Qimen, Chongqing, where there was a famous saying that “Chu Qimen’s medicine cures all diseases”. It was an area where buildings for medicine trade concentrated and where businessmen and customers gathered. To establish a standard code of conduct for the industry, groups and clubs were formed, which later developed into a business guild. In June, 1926, businessmen of medicine clubs established Chongqing Medicinal Association at Chu Qimen to communicate business information in a better way and protect common interests of the club. It was against such backdrop that the building was constructed. The area is of great cultural and historical value because it reflected the social background, business condition and the development of medicine industry in Xiaban City, Yuzhong District.
B-01 No.62 Minsheng Road Prototype: Office Building for Nanyang Brothers Tobacco Corporation in Chongqing, China The corporation, established in 1905, was the earliest national tobacco enterprise with the longest history. According to the “Record of Tobacco”, a chapter in “The Record of Chongqing”, after the outbreak of Second Sino-Japanese War, as the Japanese troop approached Wuhan, the company relocated parts of its facilities, materials and employees from Hanyang to Chongqing, where they built a new factory, and named it “Chongqing Factory of Nanyang Brothers Tobacco Corporation”. The factory started producing tobacco in March 1939, when the spirit of patriotism pervaded the country, and came up with a fashionable slogan: boycott Japanese products, fight against Japanese invasion and support domestic cigarettes. The share of the company was held by Song Ziwen, a member of the Four Influential Families.
B-11 No. 50 Minsheng Road Prototype: Bank of Chongqing The bank was established in 1929, with Pan Changyou, Wen Shaohe, and Li Jinzhi as members of the board. Inspired by the Citizen Bank in Wuhan, the said members co-authored a letter and submitted to the government of Chongqing City, requesting the establishment of a bank for citizens in Chongqing. It was to be a commercial bank, founded with the support of all businessmen in Chongqing. The registered capital was half a million yuan, and the government took the initiative to purchase fifty thousand worth of shares, leaving the rest to major and minor shareholders. What was special about the bank was its efforts to set up a deposit division for women. The practice was a positive influence on the attraction of floating capital, women’s emancipation, and ushering in fresh social practices. In 1934, Chongqing Citizen Bank was restructured into a commercial bank.
C-01 No 26 Guofu Road Prototpe: Shanghai Rong Guang Theatre Located in Haining Road, Shanghai City, the theatre was invested by Lu Bicheng, a Cantonese businessman. It opened on 2nd November, 1932, and was renamed as Qiuzhi Theatre by Japanese invader after the 8.13 incident. After the Second Sino-Japanese War, it was taken over as enemy’s asset by the Shanghai Bureau of Education, and then leased to KMT’s Central Ministry of Publicity, serving as the ministry’s movie theatre. In May 1945, its name was changed to “International Grand Theatre”. In June 1949, the Art Division of Shanghai Military Administration took over and renamed as “International Theatre” in December that same year.
C-03 No. 28 Guofu Road Prototpe: Shanghai Wang Kai Photo Studio The studio, first opened in Beijing, is a time-honored brand in China’s photography industry. In 1920, the owner Wang Zhikai relocated its Beijing studio to Shanghai (Current address: No.378, East Nanjing Road) and turned it into a large, modern, and well-equipped photo studio, the very first in Shanghai.
C-06 No. 20 Guofu Road Prototype: Jiang’s Residence in Chongqing Located in building No.101 An Deli, Yuzhong District, Chongqing (Current Address: No.36 the 4th Zhongshan Road), Yao Lu was initially built by Xu Shaozong, a Kuomintang (KMT) leader, who was also known as Yao Qing. That was why the place was named Yao Lu, meaning Yao’s Residence. Later, it became the residence of Zhang Qun, a founding member of KMT. Yao Lu was a two-storey building with a fusion of Chinese and Western architectural styles, well-furnished with office facilities and protected by a security system, being Chiang Kai-shek’s only residence in the downtown of Chongqing during the Second Sino-Japanese War.
C-07 No.18 Guofu Road Prototype: Chongqing Kuanren Women’s Hospital In 1902, under the leadership of Women’s Overseas Missionary Society, William Gamble’s wife donated five thousand dollars and built a hospital in memory of her husband. Located in Shi Banpo Yuzhong District, it was a hospital dedicated to serving women and children, also known as Kuanren Women’s Hospital in Chinese, the prototype of Chongqing Maternity Hospital (Chongqing Maternal and Child Care Center).
C-14 Bell Tower Prototype: Bell Tower at Xishan Park, Wanzhou, Chongqing Located at Xishan Park, Wanzhou District of Chongqing, the Bell Tower enjoyed as much popularity as the Bell Tower of Shanghai Custom Building. Construction of the tower started in 1930 and was completed in May 1932. It was designed by architect Dong Bingheng, and constructed by Wuhan Construction Factory. The top of the building was octagonal, made of wood structure, double layered like a helmet and cost two hundred thousand silver dollars. Among the cities along Yangtze River from Chongqing to Shanghai, Wanxian was the only city that had an independent bell tower. It became a landmark of the city and also an important landscape along the Yangtze River since the day it was completed.
D-01 No. 27 Minsheng Road Prototype: Chongqing Cathay Theatre Opened on 8th February 1937, the theatre was named “Cathay”, which symbolized a wish for the country to prosper and people to live in harmony. The theatre was located in a prime district, and cost a hundred and forty thousand silver dollars to build. It was the most splendid theatre at that time. The sign which read “Cathay Theatre” was framed by neon lights, attracting passersby. At that time, the term “neon light” (“Nihongdeng” in Chinese) was not yet familiar to the public and was called Nianhong light. The theatre had a thousand and five hundred seats, all with iron backrests and cushions with gold velvet covers. Six large frosted lamps hung from the ceiling, emitting light through the wall gaps. There were also four fans hanging on the walls. Such equipment and facilities in the theatre were considered modern at that time.
D-02 No.25 Minsheng Road Prototype: Chongqing Chuankang Civilian Commercial Bank The bank was founded in 1930 by Commander of the 21st Army, Liu Xiang, Commander of the 24th Army Liu Wenhui, and a private entrepreneur Lu Zuofu. After its merger with Chongqing Civilian Bank and Sichuan Commercial Bank in September 1937, it was renamed Chuankang Civilian Bank, whose biggest contribution was its efforts in protecting antiques in the forbidden city during the Second Sino-Japanese War. After the 9.18 incident, over six hundred thousand pieces of antiques were loaded into a hundred thousand boxes and shipped to Nanjing for protection. After the 7.7 incident, the treasures were transferred in batches to three places. The largest batch of them, about nine thousand boxes in total went to Chongqing, and were stored in the warehouse on the second floor of Chuankang Civilian Bank, because the warehouse was extremely solid and secure. At the end of 1938, Japanese air-force bombarded the city of Chongqing, but Chuankang Civilian Bank remained unscathed.
D-22 No. 22nd Minsheng Road Prototype: Business Division of Xinhua Daily in Chongqing The division was first constructed in the 1930s, a black building made of bricks and lumber that reflected both Chinese and Western styles. It had three storeys and a basement, with six rooms altogether. A “Xinhua Daily” sign hung over the door. The words were inscribed by Mr. Yu Youren, head of Supervision Department of KMT government. The headquarter of Xinhua Daily was the place where the printing house and leading office for official political newspapers (the only newspaper published under KMT’s jurisdiction) were located.