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Famous buildings  Taiyuan Villa, in Shanghai

The combination of architectural beauty and historical interest makes this building one of the true treasures of contemporary Shanghai.

Marshall House, also known as Taiyuan Villa, is a typical American style villa for American general George Marshall who stayed here between 1945 and 1949 when he was mediating between Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek. This magnificent mansion, originally built in 1920, was one of many homes of Jiang Qing (also known as Mme. Mao) between 1949 and 1976.

During the 1920s, the original owner likely spent considerable time reviewing the design for what must have been her "dream house." Most sources indicate that an English noblewoman named Marcus first lived here. However, the style of the house is very much French, with its Mansard roof, French windows, and eclectic interior, which uses the fleur de lis motif in many of the architectural details.

The house was requisitioned by the Japanese Imperial Army during their occupation of Shanghai from 1941-45.

After the surrender of the Japanese, the house was made available for tense and critical talks between the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-Shek and representatives of the Communist movement led by Mao Zedong. It was the broker of these talks, dispatched by the U.S. government in the mid-1940s, General George C. Marshall, whose name is more often associated with the house. Despite the association, General Marshall was in China for only about one year as he left China in January 1947 to assume the position of U.S. Secretary of State. The Marshall House was used as a government guesthouse during the first three decades of the People's Republic. New China luminaries that have stayed here include Liu Shaoqi, Zhu De, Dong Biwu and Zhou Enlai. Foreign heads of state such as President Sukarno of Indonesia, Premier Nehru of India, President Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam and Chairman Kim Il Sung of North Korea all had the privilege of enjoying this fine house as well.

When the power of Jiang Qing ("Madam Mao") was at its peak during the "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution" of 1966-76, the mansion was one of her favorite haunts. It was during this period that the only significant alteration to the house was made: a tower containing an elevator was added (presumably so that the aging Chairman Mao could move between floors more easily).

Today Taiyuan is a "Boutique Hotel;" one of a number of historic properties managed by the state-owned Donghu Group. It is a popular spot for wedding parties, and has been featured in countless formal wedding photos.

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