The destruction of the Phan Thiet post office

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By Grant Hall

There used to be a small corner of Phan Thiet that I really loved and for those who know Phan Thiet it lay at the intersection just behind the famous water tower if you are looking at it from the river. The intersection is where Le Hong Phong and Hải Thượng Streets crossover and you can click here to view the location on Google Maps.

With the water tower on one corner, colonial era buildings were in active use and in fine condition on two of the other three corners of that intersection. The fourth corner had a large fence that concealed more colonial era buildings and was painted in that colonial yellow, and was nicely adorned with greenery. The photos below (circa 1960’s) shows the intersection and the buildings that I’m discussing. Whenever I walked through this part of town, I always felt as though I had stepped back in time. At some future time, I guessed, they’d be turned into high-end fashion stores, cafes, bars or restaurants or used for tourism purposes.

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Image #1. The post office is the large building that appears just to the right of the uppermost section of the water tower. Image credits are at the end of the page.

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Image #2. The post office is the large building on the bottom left-hand side of the photo. Image credits are at the end of the page.

Sadly, my thoughts as to their future usage won’t ever come true. I was saddened when I returned to Phan Thiet in late 2014 after three years away to find that one of the colonial buildings had been bulldozed and replaced by some boring office block, thus removing the ‘stepping back in time’ experience. Then, one day in 2015 I walked past the area and saw the other remaining building, the old Post Office, meeting it’s fate; the building which had withstood wars, floods and a thousand vicious storms was no match for the swing of a wrecking ball. I took some photos with my phone, but by the time I returned a day later with my good camera the building was gone. The Post Office, which was built in about 1895[1], was arguably the best preserved example of publicly visible colonial architecture in Phan Thiet, and now in it’s place is this ugly thing!

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The destruction of this unique, historic and beautiful building which added so much character to the town, appeared not to bother anyone but myself. When I search the internet for information about or photos of the building before it was destroyed, Google delivers no results bar the above aerial photographs. The low-quality photos of the building which I took on my phone in it’s final days appear to be the only recent photos that exist of it online.

Until recently, I’ve enjoyed the interesting buildings of Phan Thiet on my daily walk or cycle around town and have never really felt compelled to photograph them, let alone share photos of them online or write about them. But what I have noticed over the last couple of years is that many of the towns most interesting buildings are being demolished and erased from history. The destruction of the old post office inspired me to start taking more photos of the interesting buildings of Phan Thiet and start this blog so that some of the history and character of the city is at least documented online.

Do you know anything about the history of this building? Let us know in the comments section below!

Ken Thomas image credit

Image #1 credit
Phan Thiet Warter (sic) Tower Aerial Photo 1966-72
accessed from www.flickr.com/photos/97930879@N02/9941875213/in/album-72157634547806284/#
and used under the terms as detailed at the source
at 12 December 2016.

Image #2 credit
Phan Thiết Aerial – Bình Thuận 1969
Photo by Ken Thompson
Accessed from
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Phan_Thi%E1%BA%BFt_Aerial_-_B%C3%ACnh_Thu%E1%BA%ADn_1969_-_Photo_by_Ken_Thompson_(9941754174).jpg
and used under the terms as detailed at the source
at 12 December 2016.

Notes.

  1. Quế Hà, (2015), Đập bỏ trụ sở bưu điện 120 năm tuổi ở Phan Thiết, in Than Nien, 15 March 2015, accessed online at http://thanhnien.vn/thoi-su/dap-bo-tru-so-buu-dien-120-nam-tuoi-o-phan-thiet-541561.html on December 10, 2016.

All images are owned by Grant Hall unless credited otherwise.

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