In the beginning, "龍目井,烽火街 and 砲台埔" together constituted an area that covered the present-day Shan-min Street三民街 all the way to Fort Santo Domingo紅毛城. In the Qing era, in the 龍目井 district, there were two wells that provided water for local residents, hence the name. During the Japanese colonial period, this was where the elementary school teachers and their families lived, in single-story Japanese style houses built by 中野金太郎Nakano Kintaro who acquired the land from the 學租財團 in 1912 which in turn obtained the property rights from its previous owner 太古洋行 [the Douglas Shipping Co].
Douglas Shipping Company was founded by a Scot, Douglas Lapraik, in Hongkong in 1863. In 1871, the company established regularly scheduled routes (with 3 ships, sailing once every two weeks) between Hongkong, Swatow, Tainan, Danshui, and Amoy. It was headquartered in Danshui on lands leased in perpetuity from the Qing Gov't - with 3 large warehouses, docks, offices, living quarters, and horse stalls. Dr George Leslie Mackay in fact arrived in Danshui on March 9, 1872 aboard the Douglas-owned Sea Dragon from Tainan. The most notable company building was the 2-story warehouse (the large building on the left in the picture below):
[Above: a closer view of the same warehouse. In 1958, it temporarily housed refugees from 大陳Da-Chen. It was destroyed by fire in 1959-60.]
After the Japanese takeover of Taiwan and starting in 1907, the Colonial Gov't, through executive orders and legislation, began to shut down the sea routes of the Douglas. In 1909, that from Danshui to Amoy and Foochow ceased to operate. In 1910, the Danshui <-> Hongkong route was restricted and the port of entry/exit was moved from Danshui to Keelung. This was followed by subsidizing the operation of the Osaka Shipping Co for international transports as well as the 伊萬里 I-man-li Shipping Co for inter-port shipping in Taiwan itself. Soon after, the Douglas went out of business with its warehouses and horse stalls taken over by Danshui Postal and Police Offices, respectively. And the company living quarters at 龍目井 given to Japanese businessman 中野金太郎. As mentioned above, 中野 re-built the residences to accommodate teachers from Japan who taught at Danshui and Wen-hua elementary schools.
It should be noted that during the Japanese colonial rule, private properties and lands that belonged to Danshui-ren were left untouched. Unjust land reforms came much later in 1953 when small land owners were forced to give up their properties, compensated with worthless stocks of nationally-owned businesses. The beneficiaries were the then tenant farmers, now the landlords of numerous hi-rises dotting the shorelines of Danshui River and beyond. This land reform has not foreseen/stipulated what happens if the farmers no longer till the land and sell it instead. Often unnoticed but this was the biggest wealth transfer in Taiwan history.
On a personal note: The clinic of Eyedoc's father, a noted surgeon, was located on a small lot on the outskirts of 龍目井, at No 29 - re-named 264 Chung Cheng Road after 1945.