Xue Yongnan and Brothers’ Mansion
In 1889, Xue Yongnan and his brothers of Zhushan, like many other people in Kinmen, went to the Philippines to seek fortune. They became successful merchants. In 1928 they returned to their hometown and built the first ever western-style house in Zhushan.
The Xue Brothers’ Mansion is located on a high-rise land and is elevated with layers of stone slabs as steps and foundation. It is a “five-foot way” two-storey building with a porch about five footsteps wide on the ground floor, a living room and four rooms on either floor. The front of the house features western-style brick columns with arched doorways, creating a simple yet elegant façade. The balcony on second floor commands a panorama view of the entire village. In front of the main building are an enclosed stone and brick courtyard and a flat-roofed extension offering two rooms to be used as kitchen and guest room respectively, while at the back there is a watchtower that used to provide protection against bandits and enemies in the old days.
The house had been left unoccupied for decades, as members of the Xue family moved overseas, and had become dilapidated. In 2001 the Kinmen National Park and descendants of the Xue Brothers reached an agreement whereby the Park would restore and renovate the house and be able to use it for 30 years to promote the revitalisation of traditional buildings in Kinmen. The restoration project hired local builders and adopted traditional way of construction wherever possible. The restored Mansion largely maintained its original style and appearance, with its rooms remodelled for the purpose of a guesthouse. Now visitors could have a glimpse of our forefathers’ wisdom in everyday life through staying at a traditional house in a hundreds-of-years-old village.
Reference: Kinmen Story; Kinmen National Park official website