Timeline of 59 Yeshiyuan Lane
In the last two posts, we went to see if something remains of the notorious Also A Garden (也是园/ yěshì yuán). To see how hopeless the task is, let's use satellite imagery and historical maps to go gradually back in time as much as we can.
Lane 59 is marked in red, with the pin on the cosy yard we found the lady singing "恭喜你发财 / Wish you wealth!".
Current state. Notice the big building to the North of the lane, it acts as a landmark when we go back in time. It is also worth noting how much denser is the built-up area to the South of Lane 59 — a result of the unplanned rebuilding in the area that probably used to be the garden. the result is one of the most intriguing shantytowns in our downtown, which is still inhabited.
The area where the cosy yard is now is marked as Shi Shun Kee Construction Yard
( 史顺记营造厂). Notice a just under the pin? That must be a temple facility. We didn't locate the temple. Is it hidden behind the kitchen?
An aerial photo from almost the same time shows vast war damage with some construction work going on. There is a high building that casts a shadow in the middle, the rest seems to be still walls. The pond so clear on the earlier satellite image is gone for good.
The aerial photo from the Japanese occupation era shows a lot of war damage (white areas) around the lane. To find any buildings predating this time here, one must be lucky. The dark triangular shape to the North must be a remnant of Yeshiyuan Gardens, most probably a lake.