The Imperial Japanese Navy’s Fuel Factory was a “family” comprising six branches. The first four branches were located in Japan, and the fifth in Pyongyang, Korea. In 1943, the Sixth Fuel Factory was set up in Taiwan given the Japanese demand for fuel during the Second World War. Its headquarters was in Kaohsiung, with two branches in Hsinchu and Nītaka (Taichung) respectively. Covering an area of more than 300 hectares, the Hsinchu branch was located between Guangfu Road and Gongdao 5th Road (approximately the downtown area and the Hsinchu Science Park nowadays). It was the first systematic, large-scale military industrial base in Hsinchu City. This branch’s raison d’être was exactly to produce isooctane that helped enhance the aviation fuel quality.
After the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the Air Force Engineering Wing retreated to Taiwan and stationed in the Sixth Fuel Big Chimney Factory, gradually forming a peculiar settlement of military dependents’ village known for its “embedded houses within the factory.” In 1956, the National Tsing Hua University was reactivated in the hinterland of the factory with the Institute of Nuclear Science as its first research unit, followed by the reactivation of the National Chiao Tung University (NCTU) nearby in 1958. The Industrial Technology Research Institute and the fuel depot of Taiwan’s CPC Corporation were located in the vicinity of the factory. Geographically linked with the factory, these constructions have laid a solid foundation for the establishment and development of the Hsinchu Science Park. In 2010, the Big Chimney Factory was registered as historic architecture, and the Ministry of Culture launched the public infrastructure investment project “Regeneration of Historic Sites” that incorporates the factory and the military dependents’ village. After all the military dependents were relocated from this site in 2013, the Cultural Affairs Bureau of Hsinchu City also proposed several projects to preserve and revitalize this historic site and its facilities.