Homestead is one of the most elegant mansions to be built by a Chinese towkay in Penang. It was designed by architect James Stark of the firm Stark & McNeill for Lim Mah Chye, a tycoon of the early 20th century. It is said that Lim Mah Chye deliberately built his mansion to block the view 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).
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.
Homestead in Penang Travel Tips
The Homestead front façade.
The expansive compound of Homestead