Saturday, August 10, 2013

Jim Thompson House

After leaving the museum, I made one more sight-seeing stop for the day.  Down a nondescript side street was a place I'd never heard of before arriving in Bangkok, but Lonely Planet spoke highly of it, and besides, it was on the way to dinner. 
Jim Thompson, born in 1906, was an architect in New York until World War II. During the war, he joined the military and was eventually sent to Asia towards the end of the war. He fell in love with Thailand, and was impressed by the cottage industry of weaving silk.  He saw the commercial possibilities of the beautiful cloth, and took samples back to New York designers. He returned to Thailand and became a successful entrepreneur, creating many jobs as he built up the silk industry. 
In the 1950s, he moved six traditional Thai stilt houses to a lot alongside a canal in Bangkok and combined them to create a beautiful home to showcase Thai architecture and his collection of Thai antiques. 
A few years later, Mr. Thompson was vacationing with friends in Malaysia when he went for a walk into the jungle by himself.  They searched for days, but never found a trace of him again. 
His home was opened to tours, and many people come to appreciate his house and furnishings.


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