History of Orchard Road

Orchard Road derived its name from the number of pepper, nutmeg and fruit orchards or the plantations found in the road in the mid-1800s. Commercial development in the vicinity started in the 20th century and eventually boomed in the 1970s. In the 1830s the Orchard Road area was the home of many pepper and gambier orchards and plantations which was later joined and predominated by various nutmeg orchards and fruit plantations, hence its present name.


By the year 1846, the spread of residential establishments have already extended up to Tank Road. Graveyards began to appear along the road in the later years of the 1840s. By 1946, the Sumatrans from Bencoolen had an enormous burial ground in the area where the Hotel Grand Central is currently erected, while the Chinese had a large graveyard built around an area of land which is presently where the Meritus Mandarin Hotel stands.

A Jewish cemetery was later constructed in area where the Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station currently stands. In the 1860s, a great number of private bungalows and residential homes were built on the hills looking down through the valley were the thoroughfare passed through. In the early 1890s, King Chulalongkorn (King of Siam) at that time was able to obtain a property in the vicinity which together with 2 additional adjoining properties became the present site of the Royal Thai Embassy which is specially situated at 370 Orchard Road.


In the early years of the 20th century, the Orchard Road was renowned as a road that “presented the appearance of a well-shaded avenue to English Mansions” which is comparable to the “quiet but effective beauty of the Devonshire lanes.” Presently, the area is the commercial and entertainment hub of the country making it a famous attraction to locals and tourists alike.



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