Orchard Road: Fun History Facts!

Orchard Road History, Royal Plaza on Scotts

The Orchard Road district has a history that spans almost 200 years. Here are some fun historical facts about the area you probably never knew about!

 

1. Singapore’s First Skyscraper

In 1941, The 16-storey Cathay Building was considered Singapore’s tallest building at 83.51m. The building even housed the island’s first fully air-conditioned public space—a cinema!

 

2. *The* Destination for Street Parties back in the 1980s

The annual Swing Singapore event transformed the street into a massive discotheque. Its first event even saw a turnout of 250,000 participants – that’s enough power for 50 discos and to light up 400 HDB flats used!

 

3. Nutmeg Plantations Galore!

In the 1830s, Orchard Road was covered with countless fruit orchards, nutmeg farms, pepper farms, and spice gardens – that’s also how the district got its name! 

 

4. Once Had Three Cemeteries

In the 1840s, Orchard Road used to have 3 cemeteries – a Chinese cemetery where Ngee Ann City currently is at, a Jewish cemetery where Dhoby Ghaut MRT station is now located, and a Sumatran cemetery which was once behind Concorde Hotel.

 

5. Orchard Road Carpark was the OG pop-up market in Singapore

At its peak, Glutton’s Square had 80 stalls cramped within the carpark! The carpark used to be located opposite the current Centrepoint shopping mall.

 

The market closed in 1978 and most hawkers relocated to Newton Food Centre while the rest moved to Cuppage Road Food Centre nearby.

If you’ve got more fun tidbits to share with us, drop us a message on Instagram @royalplazaonscotts!

 

Featured Image Credit: National Archives of Singapore (right) and Collection of Singapore Philatelic Museum (left)

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