Wuhu Pagoda April, 2000
Refer to Caroline Hart stories about the legend of the Wuhu Pagoda
Wuhu famine relief Workers Dr Edgerton Hart in derby sitting Dr Beebe standing
Wuhu I chi san hill with Methodist Mission Station
The city of Wuhu became an open port on 1877 and its pagoda is the oldest along this stretch of the
Yangtze River. In the early part of the 20th century it didn't have the extended eaves above its windows
that are now present. Between it and I chi San hill was a plain of grass, that sheep used to graze upon.
Now there is a ship building yard there.
I chi san (Pheasant Hill) property was purchased in 1883.
At the top of the hill stood the hospital and between it and the foot of the hill were several houses used
by the foreign medical staff as residences, with the front porches facing the Yangtze to the South. They
would enjoy much of the suns exposure in Winter, and having a roof overhead, provide shade in
The compound had a wall around its perimeter and a staircase to gain the hills summit on its Eastern
side. A road wound its way to the top on its Northern flank. The western side of the hill is extremely
steep and covered with forest vegetation.
On the adjacent hill to the North, stood the boys academy, and in the dip between the two was the
foreign cemetery. This is where Dr. Edgerton Hart was buried. During WWII, the Japanese interred the
graves, threw the bones into the Yangtze, and used the plot as a vegetable garden.
After a two hour train ride from Nanjing, I departed the carriage and asked for the bus that would take
me to I che san (Phesant Hill). The driver and conductor wondered who this foreigner was, that was
asking for the place. I responded by telling them that my grandmother was born there and her father
and mother where the a doctor and nurse here a century ago.
The driver swung the bus onto the road and we made our way through the city, sometimes in the
opposite lane of traffic. Soon, I was standing at the gates of the Wuhu General Hospital. As I walked up
the road to the Yangtze Rivers edge, I visualized what my grandmother and great aunt at told me about
their childhood on the hill.
I found the home my grandmother and great aunt had been raised in, just below the old hospital that is
now used as maintenance dormitories. I had photographs of when the building was only half of its size,
and of the homes below it with me. I followed a foot path down to the retaining wall at the river's edge
and looked for the place my great grandfather Dr. Edgerton Hart would tie his boat (Estella), and the
children play by the rivers edge.
Long gone are any remnants of a century ago, with the ship yard that occupies the property to the base
of the hill. Now at the waters edge are partially completed ships with the superstructures finished,
afloat, having the upper portions of the ships being welded into place, as giant cranes hold the
prefabricated sections, dangling from their cable.
Wuhu is still known as Wuhu. It is about two hundred miles west of Nanjing on the Yangtze River in
Anhui Province just south of Hefei. Stanley is taking a copy of the property deeds on 50 parcels of
property that Edgerton had purchased while working in Wuhu. Not that I plan on making claims of
redress (Helen had their value estimated at over $3,000,000) but thought it would be interesting to see
the looks on peoples faces when a Mei Gou shows up bearing the property titles. I later found out that
power of attorney Edward Little sold all properties and did not notify Caroline Hart. When I was in
Wuhu in 2000, which is NOT a tourist destination, I was met with questionable observation. After
pulling out the photos, I had one woman bow low in front of me and say that she was embarrassed
learning Chinese history from a foreigner. Wuhu has a three star hotel at the base of Ichisan can't
remember the name off hand but I made a phone call from it to the states. The hotel I stayed at was
only a two star right by the river and not that quaint.
Dr. Edgerton Hart died of Typhus Fever and was buried in the foreign cemetery above the hospital
grounds. During WW II the Japanese Army dug up the cemetery remains and threw them in the river to
use the grounds as a vegetable garden. The hospital and home are still standing on IchiSan
overlooking the Yangtze River. It is the largest hospital complex in Anhui Province.
Wuhu: I chi san in winter. The Hart home was the middle left one and now a nurses residence.
The field in foreground where my great aunt and grandmother used to frolic, is now a ship building