Located at Wharf No. 3, the History Museum of Kaohsiung Port was built in 1916 and completed in 1917. It functioned as the Office for officials assigned by Taiwan Governor-General’s Office to be stationed in the Kaohsiung Port in charge of the levying of sugar consumption tax.
Later on, as the import and export of goods going through the Kaohsiung Port were growing on an international scale, the Port itself was also expanding in its operation, imposing further demand on the smuggling inspection and custom duties beyond its existing capacity. As remedial measures, the head of the custom controller asked for the loan of the ground floor of the aforementioned Office for the use of the custom office. The loan resulted in improved work performance on the part of the custom office. On July 1, 1934, Taiwan’s custom organization went through restructuring and its branch department in Kaohsiung was reorganized as Kaohsiung Customs, ranking alongside Keelung Customs as Taiwan’s top two customs departments. After the reorganization, the Office continued to serve Kaohsiung Customs as its main workplace, while its first reigning head of Customs was proactively planning for the construction of a new office. On August 1, 1936, the new office for Kaohsiung Custom located on Wharf No. 1 was completed, marking the end of the era of working at Wharf No. 3.
Since the Customs Office moved out of Wharf No. 3, the Office was taken over by Kaohsiung Seafare Office under the Transportation Bureau. In December 1943, owing to the need of personnel mobilization for World War II, Taiwan Governor-General’s Office integrated Kaohsiung Prefecture’s Harbor Bureau, Transportation Bureau’s Seafare Office and Kaohsiung Customs into the Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau with its main office in Wharf No. 3, then occupied by Kaohsiung Seafare Office. After World War II, the Office continued to be utilized by Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau with certain parts of the building in need of repair due to wear and tear. The Office was temporarily disused in 1994, and was subject to imminent demolition. However, with consideration of its unique historical and cultural value, the Office was given a facelift in 1997 and has since acted as the History Museum of Kaohsiung Port with devotion to the perseveration of artifacts pertaining to the Port development. In 2002, the Museum was officially open to the public in tandem with the celebration of Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau anniversary.
The two-story Museum is a classical English brick building. Red brick walls are decorated with white fascia boards, a scheme arched window is right above the flat arched entrance, and a false balcony is built outside the window. Window openings are decorated with white cut pebbles, and pilasters on the front façade are similar to Tuscan order. The pilasters are made of red brick, and the plinths are covered with stucco washing finish to create an image of firmness, as if they were made of stone. The overall façade design is divided into two parts, including the roof, walls, plinths and pilasters.
Architectural features: Not only are the front façade and windows thereof designed in an asymmetrical pattern but also each and every exterior wall, as well as interior decoration, is designed differently, to showcase rich and diverse architectural elements in perfect harmony. In spite of a renovation project, the originally built wooden windows, small square windows, and the ceiling, capitals and the door lintel on the first floor are well preserved, and the appearance of the Museum, therefore, remains almost unchanged.