About a block south of Seomun Market Station (Exit 3) on the Green Line is Namsan Elementary School. Though most of its buildings are newer, the original lecture was built in 1936. It has a beautiful French-styled mansard roof with a stately gambrel roofed bay over the center of its eastern entrance. The building features entrances at each of its four sides and is still used as an assembly hall by Namsan Elementary School. The side streets near the school have a few minor colonial and post-liberation buildings.
A short walk to the east reveals three significant sites at the Namsan Campus of Daegu Catholic University. The first is what remains of the former St. Justin’s Catholic Seminary. Built in 1914 under Daegu’s first archbishop, Bishop Florian Demange (aka Bishop An Sehwa), a lot of the structure was torn down after the Catholic University of Daegu took it over in 1991. This beautiful center chapel is all that is left now, but here’s a link to an old photo of what the whole thing used to look like. Western brick making techniques were introduced by French missionaries during the construction of the seminary and the work was carried out by Chinese bricklayers.1 Father Victor Louis Poisnel, an extremely important turn of the century Catholic priest and (eventually) architect, was invited to aid in the design of the building. It was done in a blend of Gothic and Romanesque styles with arcades on either side of the central tower, giving the original seminary building a horseshoe “ㄷ” shape. The interior is well preserved and, even on a bright summer day, the filtered light from the stained-glass windows create a rather serene atmosphere. The two rooms on either side of the chapel now contain museum exhibits, including artifacts like an old pump organ.
Near St. Justin’s Seminary, on a small hill shaded by trees, is an exact copy of the Grotto of Lourdes in France. Built in 1918, this Holy Mother’s Shrine was constructed according to a promise made by Bishop Demange. The story is that he made a pact with the Holy Virgin of Lourdes in 1911, vowing to construct this shrine if she allowed him to grow his church and establish a seminary. The shrine was built on a granite foundation and finished with red and black bricks in 1918.
To the right of the shrine, outside of the grove and across a street, is the Sisters of the St. Paul of Chartres Convent. One of the nuns was generous enough to briefly show me around despite my visiting during Chuseok. When approaching the convent, the most eye-catching structure is the old Community Hall, built on a small incline just inside the gate. Bishop Demange received approval from the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres in France to establish a convent in Daegu in 1914. The land for the nunnery was donated by the previously mentioned Seo Sang-don.2 It was completed in 1915 with the financial aid of Count Vay de Vaya and Luskod, a well educated member of an esteemed Hungarian family who took it upon himself to travel and research “the work of the Roman Catholic Church in all parts of the world.”3 The convent began with one French sister and three Korean sisters in October of 1915. Its roof is lined with gabled dormer windows and topped by some rather imperial looking finials that kind of resemble the German pickelhaube helmet. This style of finial can still be found on the roofs of old buildings throughout the southern half of the Korean peninsula.
Once inside the gate, passage through a building on the left leads to the site of the former St. Joseph Free Clinic. It was established in 1934 as a result of locals visiting the convent’s interior hospital meant for priests. In 1931, a number of priests were reaching the end of their natural life spans and the convent opened a space within the nunnery to presumably aid them during their last days. However, it was the first sisters’ participation in the age-old missionary tradition of offering medical aid to the poor at the time of the opening of the convent that eventually led to the clinic’s establishment. The impact of the nuns was so great that Bishop Demange was noted as saying the sisters’ work was doing more to convert people than the “usual missionary work.” The free clinic was formally approved as a hospital in 1955, but had money problems and closed in 1973.
This neighborhood is the location of the former Provincial Daegu Hospital (now Kyungpook National University Hospital) and the former Daegu Medical College (now Kyungpook National University School of Medicine). Though they have had a number of name changes and corporate reorganizations, both entities seem to have been connected to each other in way or another for the last seventy years. Built in 1928, the former Provincial Daegu Hospital is a blend of renaissance and deco styles featuring an imposing square turret at its center. Its predecessor, Daegu Dong-in Clinic, was established in February of 1907. The clinic became the government owned Daegu Jahae Hospital in September 1910 before finally being renamed as the Kyungsangpook-do (Gyeongsangbuk-do) Provincial Daegu Hospital in May of 1912. The 1951 establishment of Kyungpook National University allowed for the hospital to become the Kyungpook National University School of Medicine’s affiliate. An outpatient clinic and ward were added in 1965 and 1974, respectively.4 To the university’s credit, the building is well maintained and was joined with the newer hospital buildings rather than replaced. Its lobby is still very true to the period and features a pair of beautiful art deco sliding doors whose center contains a split glass window that forms a circle when closed. A square vaulted ceiling is supported by arched entrances on every side. The landing on the second floor reveals a row of now sealed doors or windows.
Directly across the street is the former Daegu Medical College. Built in 1933 with bricks imported from China, it became the Kyungpook National University School of Medicine in 1951. Its construction is a blend of art deco and expressionism that is very unique to Korea. The annex (last few pictures below) makes even greater use of rounded edges than the main building.
Built in 1939, the building pictured below served the old Samdeok Elementary School.5 It is a typical one-story Japanese structure that has seen some recent restoration work. Given its surroundings, it appears that it is still being used as a children’s educational institute of some sort.
At the intersection above Kyungpook Nat’l Univ. Hospital Station is the Former Gyeongbuk Provincial Teachers’ College. Later renamed as Daegu Teachers’ College, the main building was built in 1923 and the was auditorium added in 1925. Both are architecturally typical of colonial schools in Korea. On the back of the auditorium is a curious mosaic of a nude man and woman running which, given its style, may date to the 1950s or 60s. Students of this school studied Japanese curriculums and, though there were Korean instructors who taught subjects like Chinese classics, they were not allowed to use Hangul.6 Japanese policy was specifically taught with the purpose of future-teachers implementing such ideas in their own classrooms once sent out to be educators. Admission to Daegu Teachers’ College was competitive because it promised low tuition, housing, and employment post-graduation. The former military general and president, Park Chung-hee, graduated from here in 1937.7
Also built in 1923, the former Daegu Business School is quite similar in design to the former Daegu Teachers’ College. Their semi-circular dormer windows are more or less identical and both buildings are symmetrically designed around central porch entrances. However, the business school’s porch facade is squared off while the Teachers’ College has a gabled roof. The Business School’s facade is also more decorative and features a mixture of Renaissance and Modernist styled embellishments. The former Daegu Business School is right behind the former Daegu Teachers’ College in the middle of Gyeongnam Central Palace Apartments (경남센트로팰리스).
South of the Kyungpook Nat’l Univ. Hospital Station is a hill on which Daebong Service Reservoir No. 1 sits. Built in 1918, Reservoir No. 2 was added to meet growing water needs in 1925.8 The taller red brick building is a junction well, which is surprisingly ornate considering its purpose is merely to allow workers to treat and clean the water with chlorine.9 The wide, round structure is the actual first reservoir. It is unclear as to where the second one is, if it still exists. The reservoir is rather decorative for a water facility and features eleven windows around its edge with a round structure in the center topped by a lovely domed roof.
Towards the east river in Mangu Park sits the Joyang Association Building, or Joyang Hall. Constructed by the Joyang club in 1922, it is a rare example of early modern Korean architecture that follows colonial period design. Interestingly, it is said that the woodwork was done with timber from Paektu (Baekdu) Mountain (present day North Korea). The first and second floor windows are framed by stone corbels while the building’s rear exterior features one octagonal window. Its porch, which extends past the middle half of the structure, makes the hall feel rather tall. These vertical lines are further emphasized by the pointy gabled roof and symmetrical twin chimneys. Joyang Hall was originally located in or near Dalseong Park, but was relocated here between 1982 and 1984. It is historically significant because of the anti-Japanese demonstrations that centered around this building, which Seo Sang-il, a pro-independence Korean nationalist, is credited as leading. The hall has seen a number of uses, including having served as a library. In the 1940s it became an office, supply unit, and barracks for the Japanese military.10 Wonhwa Girls’ Middle and High School made use of the hall post-liberation.
There is little information on Dongchon Station, but it was presumably built in the 1930s or 40s. It’s been converted into a library and public space, and while the rail line has been dismantled, a part of it was preserved. It is typical of Japanese occupation rail station design.
Towards the end of the orange line, away from Dongchon Station, sits Banyawol Station. Built in 1932, it sat on the Daegu Railroad Line, connecting the Gyeongbu and Jungang lines. Banyawol Station was moved to its current position in 2010, just a few blocks from the current Banyawol subway stop. Coal was supplied to Daegu via Banyawol. It is now a library with a room or two displaying old railway artifacts.
To see the entire Flickr gallery, click here.
1 Cultural Properties Exploration, Jung-gu Daegu Metropolitan City (2009).
2 Cultural Properties Exploration, Jung-gu Daegu Metropolitan City (2009).
3 Monsignor Count Vay de Vaya and Luskod, Empires and Emperors of Russia, China, Korea, and Japan (New York, NY: E. P. Dutton and Company, 1906), pages v-vi.
4 History, Kyungpook National University Hospital (2010)
5 도심재생문화재단, 중구의문화재 (2010).
6 Hyung-A Kim, Korea’s Development Under Park Chung Hee (Oxford, UK: Routledge, 2003).
7 Hyung-A Kim, Korea’s Development Under Park Chung Hee (Oxford, UK: Routledge, 2003).
8 문화재검색, 문화재청 (2014).
9 문화재검색, 문화재청 (2014).
10 대구문화유산, 문화재돌봄대상문화재.
Namsan Elementary School
St. Justin Seminary
Daegu Holy Mother’s Shrine
Sisters of the St. Paul of Chartres Convent
St. Joseph Free Clinic
Former Provincial Daegu Hospital
Former Daegu Medical College
Samdeok Elementary School
Gyeongbuk Provincial Teachers’ College
Former Daegu Business School
Daebong Service Reservoir No. 1 (bear in mind that the reservoir is gated and fenced and may or may not be open if you try to visit it – I wasn’t able to figure out if they have visiting hours)
Joyang Association Building
Dongchon Station (The street that Dongchon Station is on isn’t even drawn on Google Maps, however these are the GPS coordinates for it. If you need a better visual, you can also find it on Daum Maps by clicking this sentence.)