Formerly know as Niumatou
Gaomei, formerly known as “Gomach” and “Qingshui Town” prior to the merging of Taichung City and Taichung County, is located in the Qingshui District of west Taichung City along the coastal plain of Dadu Tableland’s northeast foot and downstream of the Dajia River’s south river bank. Generally speaking, the Gaomei region spans from Gaomei Wetlands in the west along Gaomei Rd. to Xitou Rd. of Jianan in the east, and Gaomei Elementary School on Hu'an Rd. in the north to Linhai Rd. of Provincial Highway 17 in the south. In the past, rice was grown on the riverbed of the Dajia River and cobblestones can be seen without digging deep beneath the ground. Additionally, farmers built ridges with cobblestones that are still visible. All evidence that Gaomei used to be the riverbed of the Dajia River, where the five villages of Gaomei, Gaodong, Gaoxi, Gaonan, and Gaobei are located.
Gaomei has many well-known landmarks. Most obvious is the Gaomei Lighthouse, which is the only lighthouse painted red and white in Taiwan. In the early days, it was an important landmark to the four coastal towns at the foot of the Dadu Mountain, including Dajia, Wuqi, Shalu, and Qingshui. Nowadays, this one-of-a-kind and colorful lighthouse along with the western-style castle building of the Gaoxi Kindergarten are the apparent landmarks of Gaomei Wetlands. Built in 1967, the Gaomei Lighthouse is 34.4 meters tall or 38.7 meters tall including the foundation.
In order to monitor the navigation of ships along the west coast passing Wuqi Port, the customhouse built this lighthouse in a central location between the Baishajia Lighthouse in Taoyuan and the Mudouyu Lighthouse in Penghu to compensate for the lack of light between the two lighthouses. The Gaomei Lighthouse started operating in 1967 and was retired in 1982 when Taichung Port Lighthouse was built after serving for fifteen years. As the Gaomei Lighthouse was too close to the Fangyuan Lighthouse in Changhua County and the Taichung Port Lighthouse, the lantern was removed and placed within the Taichung Port Lighthouse. This lighthouse is now known as the only “decapitated” lighthouse in Taiwan.
Another recent and impressive landmark of Gaomei Wetlands are the 18 wind turbines that stand along Huangang N. Rd. These wind turbines at Gaomei Wetlands were the first set constructed in Taiwan. In 2003, the wind turbines were installed by the Taiwan Power Company and originally constructed by a Dutch company. However, due to financial issues in 2005, a Japanese company took over construction. Nonetheless, the wind turbines were once again taken over and finally completed by another company as the Japanese company folded. Due to the complexities that arose during construction, missing machines parts and need for repair were recurrent issues. Located along the coast, the wind turbines also malfunctioned whenever a typhoon struck and one of them collapsed during a storm in 2008. Consequently, on stormy days, the wind turbine fans stop spinning at Gaomei Wetlands.