Saigon, as shown in pictures taken a hundred years ago, was indeed the Pearl of the Orient. It is interesting to see that some of the buildings remain today. In 1969, however, it suffered from terrorist attacks on a nightly basis. Liberated by North Vietnam it is now called Ho Chi Minh city.

This was the City Hall in 1969 Saigon. Today it is brightly painted. Source: Finnegan

 

 

 

This was the National Assembly building in 1969 Saigon.  Source: Finnegan

 

 

The picture on the top shows the front of the Presidential Palace in 1969 Saigon. Source: Finnegan The pictures of what is now known as Reunification Hall above were taken in August of 2008. Source: Kerin

This picture was a glimpse of the palace grounds 1969. Source: Finnegan

 

 

 

This is a picture of the riding club on the palace grounds taken from the roof of the Meyerkord BOQ 1969. Source: Finnegan

 

The picture on the left shows the front of the Continental Palace Hotel in 1969 Saigon - the place to stay in the city.  Source: Finnegan

 

 

My Canh floating restaurant. A regular hangout for the early Saigon Warriors, at least until the famous attack and ambush. Source: ?

 

 

 

The picture on the left shows one of the major traffic circles in the city. The one on the right, a traffic circle from the air. When one was above Saigon one could see how well the city was planned. Source: Finnegan

 

Religion was an important part of daily life and death.  On the left - Notre Dame Catholic Cathedral in what was then known as John F. Kennedy Square. The Post Office building, a museum piece in itself is located off picture to the right. RMK-BRJ THE construction engineering  company for the US was located down the street on the right. In the middle - A new Buddhist temple and its bell rumoured to be financed by gold from donors teeth. On the right - A Buddhist funeral procession. Source: Finnegan,

One was never far from reminders of war. The Marine Memorial (dedicated 1966) on the left was one of them. The one in the middle is of Troung Minh Jong. Source: Finnegan

One could feel the over crowding in the city resulting from the influx of refugees from all over the country. With the war cam poverty and death, at least there was some chance of survival in the city. However the increase in shanties filled the once wide boulevards of Saigon and left, in many cases streets that would barely handle one vehicle. However, there were some areas that where space was not a problem. Source: Finnegan

However, construction continued in the City despite the 'conflict'. The methods were innovative and dangerous. The number of available workers in the city meant that what would otherwise be expensive means of construction were employed. I watched in amazement as brick by brick construction materials were passed from floor to floor. Source: Finnegan

In spite of the 'conflict' theatre life in the city continued. The picture on the left is of the Hung Dao Theatre and the one on the right was the theatre in the Rex BOQ. Source: ?, Finnegan

There were other forms of entertainment. The Phu To Racetrack  in Cholon was active on Sundays in spite of it having been used as a staging point by the NVA during TET of 1968. To the right is the famous hole in the wall, blown up by the NVA as they took control of the racetrack during TET '68 in order to prevent it from being a staging area for the ARVN and US Forces. Source: Finnegan

In the city proper there was also the Zoo and parks where families would gather. Source: Finnegan

One could obtain just about anything at the Tu Do Black Market - especially when the PX was out of stock.  Source: National Archives Film

There were specialty markets as well. This was the tire market. You could get any tire here for a good price when it couldn't be obtained through 'regular' channels. Source: Finnegan

 

 

Most the city moved by wheeled motor transport and as a result the smog engulfed the city by days end. The cost of goods was tied to the price of petrol so when the tax on petrol went up 300% overnight, everything became significantly more expensive.  Note the rail cars moving petrol into the city. Source: Finnegan

Other forms of transport filled in when wheeled motor transport wasn't appropriate or affordable. Note the pig filling the back of the Lambretta.  Source - Finnegan

No picture from the era however this is what Ton Son Nhut Airport looks like today. Source: Kerin

 

 

 

Since the 'conflict' restricted farming and industry most of what was needed to support the 'conflict' and the country had to arrive and move around by ship (the Brownwater Navy). Note the bullet holes in the Newport Bridge on the left, remnants of TET '68. Source - Finnegan

 

Views from the Air

The following are some shots taken while flying over the city:

 

Looking North. Source - Finnegan

View from the South. Source - Finnegan

 

 

The following is a  collection of pictures of Saigon at night taken by C.M.A.C. Reporter Chuck Galloway