Leow Yong Nguan House
The Leow Yong Nguan House is located on Tha Phae Road in Chiang Mai. The only book that gives information on this house is one of the two books on old houses in Chiang Mai by Anu Nernhard. It’s only available in Thai language though. This house belongs to the Saeleow Family. It was constructed in 1915, according to Anu Nernhard. A man called Uy Saeleow built the house. Locally he was known as Thow Gae Uy Sae Leow. He was an immigrant from China who was involved in trading on the Ping River and was based in the Wat Ket area. He operated boats that carried cargo to Bangkok back and forth. Local people called him “old turtle Uy”.
His first residence was the house that now is the Gallery Restaurant on Charoenrat Road. This house was called the Leow Yong Nguan house (บา้นเหลี่ยวย่งง้วน). The Wat Ket area was the commercial center until the opening of the Bangkok-Chiang Mai railroad in 1922. The commercial center then moved to the Sanpakoy area and Thapae Road. I would date the year of construction of the house on Tha Phae Road actually after that, looking at the style of building and the materials used. Uy gave this house the same name: Leow Yong Nguan House.
In the directory issued by the Bangkok Times newspaper of 1927 the shop is called “Leo Yong Ngwang” under the header “General and piece goods”. Chin Neoh Whee is listed as proprietor. In the beginning the store sold agricultural products and textiles. Later on it sold electronics, bicycles and motorbikes amongst others. Uy Saeleow passed away in 1932. Uy Saeleow had several wives who were apparently living together in this house. He had a very large family that is now involved in several businesses such as The Gallery, the Isuza dealer Tara and the Sujarit Phanich store in Chiang Mai road. The house is currently in use as a pizzeria on the first floor. There are a number of souvenir shops on the ground floor.
Below picture shows people walking through Tha Phae road probably in the early 50s. The Leow Yong Nguan House is the first house on the left. Behind it the Kitipanit Store is visible.
This picture show the same place in 2018.