Sat, Nov 03, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Kaohsiung officials eye new tourist site after lime kiln find

By Hung Chen-hung and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A well-preserved lime kiln is rediscovered behind wild grass and bamboo trees on the outskirts of the Marine Corps Tzuyi Base in Kaohsiung’s Linyuan District on Thursday.

Photo: Hung Chen-hung, Taipei Times

The rediscovery of an almost intact lime kiln on the outskirts of the Marine Corps Tzuyi Base in Kaohsiung’s Linyuan District (林園) has prompted the district office to look into the ownership of the land in hopes of establishing a local tourism hotspot.

The kiln, in the mountains by a faded track that was once traversed by oxen carts, was remarkably well-preserved, said Chen Chun-chiang (陳俊強), director of the Linyuan-based Love Our Community group.

The kiln is the third relatively complete one to be found in the district, while eight others, in varying states of disrepair, have also been found near Luotuoshan (駱駝山), Cingshuei Temple (清水寺) and the base.

According to local elders, there should be four kilns in the area, local history enthusiast Tai Chien-cheng (戴健成) said, adding that the one found near Tzuyi Base was the third, leaving the association one short.

Limestone was a major building material during the Japanese colonial era and, as it produces lime by burning, there were many kilns along the foot of Luotuoshan, Chen said.

Perhaps the newly found kiln is well-preserved due to its proximity to a military base, which ensured very little disturbance and development of the land, he said.

There is some natural damage to the kiln, with its outer walls cracked by the roots of a nearby tree, Chen said.

The kiln is 6m tall and its interior differs from a separate kiln found in Gushan District (鼓山) in that it is shaped like a funnel, Chen said, adding that the association would reach out to experts to look into whether the difference in shape suggests different lime-producing techniques.

Chen said there was a 100m2 space for wood storage outside, as lime burning required different types of wood to control the fire.

Looking at the wood storage, Chen reminisced about how his mother would venture to the shores of the Gaoping River (高屏溪) to gather kans grass to sell to kiln operators, who used it to make quicker, smaller fires.

Kiln owners preferred wood from Formosan acacia or the Chinese chaste tree for longer and bigger fires, Chen said.

The discovery of a kiln in such a location is quite significant, and the association is inquiring about who owns the land, he said.

“We hope to preserve the entire scene — the kiln, the wood storage, the stone arches and fence outside, as well as an abandoned broom made from betel nut tree leaves — and develop it into a tourist attraction,” Chen said.

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