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 (1970−1975), 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.