Mansions of the Family of Li Hongzhang in Shanghai
The family of Li Hongzhang is widely recognized as the First Family of the Late Qing Dynasty. Their ancestral home was Anhui Province and the family made their own way in Shanghai. In 1860, Li Hongzhang was ordered by Zeng Guofan to train the Huai Army and then led the Huai Army to Shanghai. Since then, the Li"s had been living in Shanghai for up to seven generations, that is, one and a half century.Â Â
Li Hongzhang was once the Viceroy of Zhili and the Commerce Minister of Beiyang. He originally lived in Tianjin; however, as Shanghai was the largest trading port, many of his business dealing with foreign trade and foreigners in Shanghai required that he had a home there. Although he did not live long in Shanghai, he had left a far influential career there. The life of the Li"s had been intensively hidden inside those western-style mansions covered by phoenix trees, becoming a legend in the mind of the general public.
It is no exaggeration to suggest half the Huashan Road belonged to the Li"s. Huashan Road used to be a channel for transporting soldiers against the Taiping Rebellion Army. Li Hongzhang might well be particularly fond of this road as aÂ result.