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Site of Ming Dynasty Garrison Commander's Office

Source: Changjiang Weekly 09/08/2016 05:09:15

The gate of Tanhualin Primary School

Walking along Tanhualin Street, you are sure to see people stopping and taking pictures of the beautifully-designed gate of Tanhualin Primary School. This building was not always a school; it was originally the site of the Wuchang Garrison Commander's Office.

According to Hubei History, Wuchang was a political, economic and cultural center located to the south of the Yangtze River; it was a city where a few major government institutions settled during the Ming Dynasty. A defensive military garrison, "Wuchangwei" (Wuchang Garrison 武昌卫) was set up here in 1389, the 22nd year of the Hongwu Emperor's reign. The commander's office was established south of Pangxiejia (螃蟹岬), in an area that is now part of the Tanhualin Primary School campus. The road in front of this area was off limits to everyone except officials entering or exiting the garrison. When the Qing Dynasty began, much of the Ming military system was kept intact. The garrison remained; however, its function changed. It oversaw shipping, wasteland management, and grain storage. It made over 228.8 square kilometers of former wasteland available for development.

Hubei History also says that in the first year of the Xianfeng Emperor's reign during the Qing Dynasty, the Wuchang Garrison Commander's Office ceased to have a purpose, for the nature of the waterways and transportation had changed. In the 28th year of the Guangxu Emperor's reign (1902), the offices were disbanded.

To the right of the Wuchang Garrison Commander's Office was an affiliated organization, the Madao Office (Office of the Horse Circuit Management 马道衙门). To the south there was a base responsible for manufacturing and distributing weapons, such as spears and armor; this base was named Gejiaying (戈甲营). Although the base is now gone, this area is still called Gejiaying today.