April 2024
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Deja Vu: Vietnam Part 6 (Saigon Central City)

We continue with Part 6 of the 16 part series Deja Vu: Vietnam. The series of videos is made using Google Earth to focus in on various parts of Saigon and surrounding areas of Vietnam. Then overlaid with video footage filmed in 2007 with ‘fade backs’ of videos and photos going back to various time points in prior years. Some all the way back to 1882 Saigon.

Now in Part 6 we’ll continue by travelling into the central city area of Saigon visiting Hai Ba Trung Street, Old French Cemetery, Tu Do Street, Le Loi Blvd. (1920s and 1988), Nguyen Hue Blvd. (1882 “Charner Blvd and canal”, 1972 USO, and 1988), City Hall (1908, 1920s, 1965, 1970), Rex Hotel, Movie Theater, TAX Building (1920s, 1965, 1988 and 2007), and the Opera House (1920s, 1960s and 1988). Then with each of the following parts of the series we’ll be travelling around the central city area of Saigon and Cholon. Then travel to areas outside of Saigon and back to Tan Son Nhut Airport for departure from Vietnam.

Each of us lived in Saigon at different times during the years from the mid-1950’s to 1975. Because of the span of time we lived in Saigon, different parts of the series will mean more to each of us … but, they will all trigger memories and experiences of your time in Saigon.

Enjoy …

A Born To Wander Production

Are the memories starting to flow now that we are cruising around Saigon central city area?! Mine are …

What places do you remember in this area of Saigon?

What were your favorite places in this area of Saigon?

What are your most memorable experiences in this area of Saigon?

Do you know what the Rex Hotel building was originally?

Did you notice the changes to the Opera House during the 1960s and how it has been changed back to it’s original state after the war?

Did you know that Nguyen Hue Blvd. was once a canal?

Do you remember shopping at the TAX Building? What were your favorite shops in the TAX Building?

Do you remember the corner movie theater? What movies did you see there?

Do you remember the kiosks vendors on Nguyen Hue Blvd. and the Photographers there who we’d hire to take pictures at our parties, etc.?

As always please feel free to leave your Comments below and share the memories and experiences this area of Saigon brings back to you … about your time in Saigon.

Stay tuned for Part 7 in a few days … to visit more of the Saigon central city area, My Canh Floating Restaurant, Susan’s House and the Old U.S. Embassy 🙂


If you missed the previous parts of the series, you can view them here:

Deja Vu: Vietnam series Archives

17 comments to Deja Vu: Vietnam Part 6 (Saigon Central City)

  • frank stoddard

    Really nice, Bob. I did not recognize anything out by the Airport. I strained my eyes for a glimpse of the old ACS (I think it later became the 3rd Field Hospital…???) and Pershing Field, but could not see them. Really changed!

    We lived in 4 places while in Saigon. The third one was the TAX building. My folks and two sisters moved there in about December 61. I got back to Saigon for the summer of ’62 and also lived there. We were on the top floor and kind of to the back. A guy by the name of Maj. “Sandy” Faust, when he was “in from the bush”, had a standing agreement to always stay with us. He was the S-3/XO for a fellow by the name of LTC Vann…the guy in “Bright Shining Lie”.
    During the summer of ’62 I had a job with a Company called Paige Communication Engineers. They were building the large communication antennas throughout South Vietnam and Thailand. Up until then, American officials had trouble communicating with each other.
    My job was to handle all new employees coming in from the “States”. Get hotel,/airplane reservations, automobiles, or whatever. I would meet them at the airport, get them processed through the company and with MACV (not to long established from MAAGV, but still in Cholon) and get them settled in. The great thing, besides they paid me well, was their office was on the second floor of the TAX Building. It was sure easy to get to work in the morning! I billeted most of the folks at the Continental Hotel (it was so close) until they flew out to their station.
    It was neat seeing the film of the square and the Rex and Tax buildings (I don’t remember there being very good shops in the TAX Bldg. though!)…Oh and yes “flower street”. Saigon certainly looks crowded now! I guess that is what happens when you go from two million to eight million plus!

    • Dick Banks

      Hi Frank Stoddard,

      The world definitely is a small place. My family was in Saigon between 1962 and 1965, since my father was one of the radio engineers with Page Communications Engineers that constructed large tropo scatter communications antennas around South Vietnam and Thailand for the U.S. Military. This communications system interconnected Saigon, Nha Trang, Qui Nhon, Da Nang, Pleiku and Ubon AB in Thailand.

      Seeing “Deja Vu: Vietnam Part 6” certainly brought back a lot of memories of the summers I spent, as a high school kid, in Saigon.

  • Admin

    Frank … Great comments. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

    Yes, ACS was converted to a Field Hospital. I’m in the process of collecting pictures and information on ACS from it’s start until the fall of Saigon. But, it is difficult to locate information about the school. Perhaps some of the older USA Saigon Kids or possibly the French Saigon Kids remember something about the early days of American Community School?? Mimi, Jean … do you recall what the buildings where used as before they became American Community School. Or, were they built specifically for use as the school? If so, do you recall when they were built? Are any of the older USA Saigon Kids around who recall any information about the beginning of ACS?

    Mimi and Jean … what school did the French Kids go to? Do you have any pictures and information about your school you can share with us? I apologize, my memory does not recall much about the French schools in Saigon, except I have faded memories of passing by it a few times, as school was letting out and seeing all the French girls … lol … ohh la la .. what a sight!! … 🙂

    Frank as best as I’ve been able to figure out Pershing Field got buried in military installations over time. I’m still researching Pershing Field.

    Mimi can you and the other French Kids share with us your memories of the TAX Building when it was a shopping center? It appears by the time most of us USA Kids arrived in Saigon, the building was slowly convertered to other uses. But, if my information is correct prior to that is was a very nice shopping mall. True or False?

    Gene Taylor, do you have any memories of this area of Saigon while you were there during 1955/57 that you can share with us? Also, do you recall anything about the American Community Shcools beginnings? Or, did it even exist when you were in Saigon?

    Frank many of the old pictures we had taken during our time in Saigon, were taken by photographers who had booths on ‘flower street’ … remember … how we go down there and make arrangements for them to come to our parties, take pictures… then a couple days later we’d all go down to their booth on ‘flower street’ and order prints from them??

    ahhhhhh the memories from the back pages of my mind … 🙂


    • Gene Taylor

      Sorry…been out of touch…I can send story & photos of 1955 to 1957. Recently had my dad’s old slides put on CD…how do I send these to you? Best way or format for you to use?

      • Hello Gene! Good to hear from you. I’ll send you an email in the next couple of days of the best way to send the pix to me. I can’t wait to see these. I bet they are really interesting to view. Thank you so very much for your contribution. Very much appreciated! 🙂

        I’ll be in touch …


  • Victor Emeliantsev

    From September 1968 to June 1969 I was stationed at Third Field Hospital, Saigon. Are there any photo’s of it.
    Also, you didn’t mention the military statue that was in the center of the area you covered in part 6. I remember taking a picture, now lost in a house fire, of the statue with the damaged Assembly Building in the background. It had been hit by a rocket, and for the entire time I was there, had a tarp of some sort covering the cornor right front, I believe.

  • Admin

    Hi Victor! Thank you for your comments. Re: 3rd Field Hospital pictures. One of my many projects is putting together a pictorial history of American Community School (when it was a school) and the 3rd Field Hospital (after the school was converted). They both have an interesting history. It will be several months before I have this project completed. Regarding the military statue you refer to … that is the Marine Statue that used to be located in Loi Le Plaza, it is included in Deja Vu Vietman Part 7 of the series. I’ve not come across any pictures of the Assembly Building while it was covered with a tarp. Anyone else have any?
    Thanks for visiting and sharing your informative comments.


  • Thomas Johnson

    I have many, many pictures of the 3rd Field Hospital from 1965-1966. Interested?
    Thomas Johnson

    • Admin

      Hello Thomas,

      Thank you for your visit and comments. Yes, I’d be interested in any pictures you might have of the 3rd Field Hospital during 1965-66 time frame. I’ll email you.

      Thank you,

    • Bruce Wilbanks

      I was stationed at Third Field Hospital from October 1968 until December 1969 working in the operating room. I would love to get some pictures of the hospital. My email address is BruceWilbanks@mac.com

      • Bruce – George Baggett who was stationed at Third Field Hospital has a collection of about 100 pictures of 3rd Field in an album located in the Photo Gallery – click the link on the *left side* Menu to go there.

    • John DiSpirito

      My cousin was stationed at the 3rd Field Hospital, I think he would like to see whatever pictures you have. Can you e-mail them to me.

      • Hi John, thanks for stopping by.

        I’m sorry but I can’t e-mail you the pictures of 3rd Field Hospital to pass on to your cousin, without permission from the owners of the pictures to do so. There are well over 100 pictures that various people have provided and authorized for viewing on this site. They have not authorized me to redistribute their pictures upon request. You or your cousin would need to contact the owners of the pictures to request copies of their pictures. As an alternative, you might want to refer your cousin to this site so he can view the pictures on the site. Who knows, he might even bump into someone here he was stationed with at 3rd Field Hospital and be able to re-connect with them.


  • George Baggett

    I am also interested in 3rd Field Hospital – I spent 1969 working there in the Renal Unit and lived at the Columbia Hotel. I loved your tour of downtown. I remember it well. I wrote a book about some of this, Youth In Asia, by George Baggett.

  • Deborah Oakley-Melvin

    HELP! Despite Arlene’s great map, I cannot find my old house. I’m in Saigon until the weekend, so if anybody knows where 106B Ngo Dinh Khoi Boulevard is now with the street name changes (and maybe the numbers?), I’d be immensely grateful. My brother says it is Cong Ly, but nobody recalls the name ever being changed. We lived next to the Parkers in a two story modern complex with a whitewashed wall in front and the Leoppard family in back, and a shared wall on the left with the three European men in residence. There was a rice paddy on the left of the modern 60s complex. I went to 106 Cong Ly, that’s not it. Anybody know where the Parkers lived? Mahalo in advance, I appreciate it!
    Deborah (Debby) Melvin *write me at hilodeb@yahoo.com

    • Admin

      Deb – Go up to the Basilica then turn right on “Le Duan” stay on it until it dead ends at the Zoo/Pagoda, the turn left onto “Nguyen Binh Khiem” go to first street cross street (Nguyen Thi Minh Khai) turn left then start looking for your old house, if you don’t find it there then go up one more block to “Nguyen Dihn Chieu” look around in that area. The Parker’s old house was in this area. Here is a link to Google Maps showing the are with new street names, etc.


      Pastuer is still has the same name. It is one block toward the Basilica from the Palace front gate. It crosses Le Duan.

      Hope this helps you.


  • Dennis

    Worked in the TAX Bldg July, 63-May 64 HEDSUPAC Saigon Translation Pool. Believe I have old photos from the Coup in Nov 63 and possibly one of the TAX in 63

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