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Right between the iconic Independence Monument and the Palace of the Kings and Queens of Cambodia, White Mansion stands on the leafy Street 240.

Past and Present

From the 1910’s onwards, the Cam­bo­di­an fam­i­lies relat­ed to the Roy­al dynas­ties and the emerg­ing pri­vate busi­ness­es start­ed to set­tle down west and south of the Palace. Street 240 was one of the major arter­ies along which new man­sions and com­pounds sprout­ed out of the ground.

From the Palace up to Norodom Boule­vard, the street is named after Okn­ha (Noble­man) Chhun, Min­is­ter of the Palace. West­bound from the boule­vard, in the area where White Man­sion stands, it bears the name of Preah Ang (Prince) Phanavong (pho­to above), one of King Norodom’s sons who presided over the Coun­cil of Min­is­ters in the 1920s and was held for a while as heir to the throne. 

Sev­er­al fam­i­lies linked to Lady Khun Kim An Yap, a con­cu­bine of King Sura­mar­it’s — the father of King Norodom Sihanouk –, strived among this new quar­ter of the city, known as Dis­trict 5. Lat­er on, diplo­mat­ic lega­tions devel­oped along Norodom Boule­vard, bring­ing in cul­tur­al and archi­tec­tur­al influ­ences dis­tinct from the time-hon­ored French trends.

Younger gen­er­a­tions of busi­ness­men and women, as well as politi­cians, elect­ed this area as their res­i­dence. In par­tic­u­lar, Long Boreth, the last Prime Min­is­ter of the Repub­li­can gov­ern­ment (19701975), was close to the then US Ambas­sador Emory Swank. At that time, the US Embassy was near­by, on Norodom Boule­vard, but when the lega­tion reopened in 1992, it was relo­cat­ed #27 Street 240 (pho­to above), right next to the build­ing that used to be a Res­i­dence for Amer­i­can ambas­sadors and their guests.