Homestead, George Town, Penang
Homestead today, as main campus of the Wawasan Open University (5 August, 2012)
Homestead is one of the biggest and most elegant mansions to be built by a Chinese towkay in Penang. Located along Northam Road, it was designed by architect James Stark of the firm Stark & McNeill for Lim Mah Chye, a tycoon of the early 20th century.
Homestead is said to have been deliberately built by Lim Mah Chye to block the seaview enjoyed by his rival, Quah Beng Kee, who owned a mansion called Columbia Lodge right across the road (and is today the Maple Gold restaurant). The plan of the house is in the form of the letter "E".
The Homestead front façade, before the construction of Wawasan Open University
In the 1920's, Quan Beng Kee suffered financial ruins when his ship crashed into the port in Deli, Medan, and he had to pay for the damages. His shipping company was taken over by Lim Chin Guan, the son of Lim Mah Chye. But before long, Lim Chin Guan's fortune also took a nose-dive, hit by the great depression, which destroyed many millionaires but created new ones. Lim Chin Guan had to sell Homestead to one of the newly rich, Yeap Chor Ee, the founder of Ban Hin Lee Bank.
Today the Homestead has been turned into the campus of the Wawasan Open University.
The expansive compound of Homestead, before the construction of Wawasan Open University
The only bus that passes along Northam Road in front of Homestead is Rapid Penang bus 103. The bus stop is opposite The Northam All Suite Hotel.
View Homestead in a larger map
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