The Development and Settlement of Dalongdong
Dalongdong used to be inhabited by Pingpu-Ketagalan people’s “Balangbeng tribe”. “Balangbeng” was also called Balanbeng or Dalangbeng, both of which were transliteration of Pourompon. Later on, Dalangbeng was named “Da-long-tong”, and then re-named Dalongdong because of studious residents in the area. Dalongdong is close to where Danshui River meets Keelung River; it sits in the Datong District of Taipei City.

Among Han people’s settlements in Taipei Basin, Dalongdong came into existence only after Manka and before Dadaocheng.

During the Ming-Cheng era, Han people first got settled down mainly in southern Taiwan, and then in Taipei Basin in northern Taiwan. According to a 1709 (year 48 of Kang-hsi reign) reclamation license issued to the Chen Lai-chang reclamation firm, Dalongdong was already part of its northern reclaimed frontiers.
The Establishment of Baoan Temple and Its Community
1. About the Construction of Baoan Temple

According to Danshui Sub-prefecture Gazetteer, Baoan Temple was bankrolled in 1805 (year 10 of Chia-ching reign) for construction, which completed in 1830 (year 10 of Tao-kuang reign).

Special Report on Taipei Baoan Temple states that in 1742 (year 7 of Chien-lung reign) certain immigrants went back to Pai-chiao Tzu-chi Temple in their Tung-an, Chuan-chou, motherland and begged the Baosheng Emperor to share out his spiritual powers to Taiwan. At first, the temple was a rather shabby wooden structure. Then, because its auspiciousness had won local people’s gratitude, they set on to extend the temple in 1755 (year 20 of Chien-lung reign). The project was completed in 1760 (year 25 of Chien-lung reign).

Moreover, the dragon column in Baoan’s main hall is dated Chia-tzu year of Chia-ching reign –or 1804 (year 9 of Chia-ching reign) – which is slightly earlier than Danshui Sub-prefecture Gazetteer’s account. When folks from Chuan-chou’s three counties (San-yi) and Tung-an county were confronting with one another inside Taipei Basin, San-yi folks first built the Longshan Temple in Manka in 1738 (year 3 of Chien-lung reign). As a counter-measure, Tung-an folks built the Baoan Temple in Dalongdong. Anyhow, the founding of Baoan Temple was years earlier than documented.

2. Baoan Temple and the Forty-four Kans (Shops)

Baoan Temple had been closely associated with the development of the Dalongdong community; e.g. its 44 kans (shops). It is said that after the completion of Baoan, the unused building materials were purchased with discounted prices together by rich households like the Wangs, Chengs, Kaos, and Chens. They used the materials to build two rows –a total of 44 shops– at the left side of Baoan Temple; the shop was called kan. Each of these kans (shops) has “mass production” type of identical dimension, timber structure and tile roof.

These 44 shops also were called “inside of the defensive gates” –for the purpose of defending the community, narrow strategic gates were set up on both ends of the street block.

On this end of Baoan Temple, the gate was inscribed “small-town singing and reading;” on the west gate, it was “Da-long-tong.” Because of later-day street widening needs, both gates were torn down. As for “inside of the defensive gates” where the 44 kans (shops) were located, it was also called “up street.” This is opposite to the “down street,” which generally covers the area between the west of the gate and the temple of earth god. The 44-kan (shop) block is considered Dalongdong’s earliest business district.

The Early Development of Baoan Temple’s Beliefs and the Early Renovations

Baoan Temple was originally funded by four local clans; the Wangs donated the land and the Chens, Changs, Tsais offered their supports. These major clans were often associated with the businesses of 44 kans (shops). As far as Baoan Temple’s sphere of worship, it covered the following three areas: Township One: Dalongdong, Huwei, Beitou. Township Two: He-shang zhou, Sanchong pu, Xinzhuang. Township Three: Dadaocheng.

There were three worshipping activities in a year: Baosheng Emperor’s date of birth (15th day of the third moon), date of ascension (2nd day of the fifth moon), and Ghost Festival (10th –12th day of the seventh moon). It was customary for residents of all three townships to take turns funding the events. To celebrate Baosheng Emperor’s birthday, the Tung-an clans would sponsor folk theater opera performances. These “surname series” ran from the 5th to the 28th of the third moon; the Chang clan would take the first show and the Wu clan would take the last. One can tell that Chang clan was the most powerful of all, and an old local saying says it: “Dalongdong’s Changs, Gala’s Yangs.”

Thanks to the efforts of people in three townships, Baoan Temple looked that much more majestic after each renovation. In 1828-1833 (years 8-13 of Tao-kuang reign), the famed woodcarver Hsu Yen was retained from Chuan-chou. He carved out figurines for the thirty-six divine generals, which presented superb artistic values. In 1855 (year 5 of Hsien-feng reign), Baoan rebuilt its rear hall. In 1868-1873 (years 7-12 of Tung-chih reign), the main hall and the east-west guardrooms were also renovated.