The early history of the colonial villa at 60 Võ Văn Tần – originally 60 rue Testard – is shrouded with mystery, though it has been claimed that it was originally built for a wealthy French wine importer.
It later became the home of royal family member Nguyễn Phúc Ưng Thi (1913-2001) and his wife, founders of the Rex Hotel. In the late 1950s, they made the house available to the United States of America as a residence for their military commanders in chief.
It subsequently became the residence of two consecutive Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) Chiefs – Lieutenant General Samuel T Williams (November 1955-September 1960) and Lieutenant General Lionel C McGarr (September 1960-July 1962).
In 1962, when MAAG was integrated into the Military Assistance Command Việt Nam (MACV), the head of MAAG was found new lodgings at 121 Trương Định (today a kindergarten), while 60 Trần Quý Cáp became home to successive MACV Chiefs, including General Paul D Harkins (February 1962-June 1964), General William C Westmoreland (June 1964-July 1968), General Creighton Abrams (July 1968-June 1972) and latterly General Frederick C Weyand (June 1972-March 1973).
Today 60 Võ Văn Tần is home to a tourist company.
You may also be interested to read these articles:
In Search of Saigon’s American War Vestiges
American War Vestiges in Saigon – 606 Tran Hung Dao
American War Vestiges in Saigon – 137 Pasteur
American War Vestiges in Saigon – Former “Free World” HQ
American War Vestiges in Saigon – Former USIS Headquarters
Tim Doling is the author of the walking tour guidebook Exploring Hồ Chí Minh City (Nhà Xuất Bản Thế Giới, Hà Nội, 2014) and also conducts Saigon and Chợ Lớn Heritage Tours.
A full index of all Tim’s blog articles since November 2013 is now available here.
Join the Facebook group pages Saigon-Chợ Lớn Then & Now to see historic photographs juxtaposed with new ones taken in the same locations, and Đài Quan sát Di sản Sài Gòn – Saigon Heritage Observatory for up-to-date information on conservation issues in Saigon and Chợ Lớn.