- Underwood Memorial House Listed as a Registered Cultural Heritage of South Korea April 14, 2021
‘Underwood’s House at Yonsei University, Seoul’ recognized for its values of historic and architectural preservation
The Underwood Memorial House on the Sinchon Campus of Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea has been listed as a registered cultural heritage of South Korea. The Cultural Heritage Administration of South Korea gathered opinions from various people through a 30-day registration notice period from February 3, 2021 and named the Underwood Memorial House as a registered cultural heritage on April 5 after deliberation by the Cultural Heritage Committee. The cultural property is named as the ‘Underwood’s House at Yonsei University, Seoul.’
The Underwood Memorial House was built in 1927 by Dr. Horace Horton Underwood (Korean name: Won Han Kyung), the third president of Yonhi College, with one basement level and two ground levels above the hill on the west side of Yonhi Campus. A garage, now called the Annex building, was also built. As the house was heavily destroyed due to the intensive bombardment during the Korean War, Dr. Horace Grant Underwood II (Korean name: Won Il-han), the son of Horace Horton Underwood, renovated it to a single-story building in 1955 and lived there. In 1974, he donated some 10 acres of housing and land to Yonsei University.
Yonsei University remodeled and opened the building as the Underwood Memorial House in 2003 to commemorate Dr. Horace Grant Underwood (Korean name: Won Doo-woo), the founder of Yonsei University and a Presbyterian missionary, and his family, who contributed to the modern education and national development of Korea. To remember Dr. Underwood’s spirit and his family’s devotion, as well as leaving his name to posterity, the Underwood family’s house from the 1930s was restored as much as possible. It was closed due to a fire in November 2016, which led to many people’s regrets. In May 2018, however, the lost part was restored and the exhibition room was completely reorganized and reopened.
According to the Cultural Heritage Administration, the Underwood Memorial House is “worth preserving as the historic traces of Yonsei University remain all over the building and it helps examine the modern Western housing style with a unique architectural form.”
“The decision seems to have taken into account not only the structure of the house, but also the dedication of the Underwood family who has lived through the turbulent history with Koreans,” the Yonsei University Museum, which manages and operates the Underwood Memorial House, says. “The house is a space where not only the Yonsei members, but also all Koreans can remember the life and achievements of the Underwood family. It is also an educational space to feel and learn about the history of Christian missionary and university education in Korea. We will put our utmost efforts to preserve it as a treasury of valuable recorded heritage.”
The Underwood Memorial House is open to the public for free from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM from Monday to Saturday (excluding public holidays). The exhibition guide is offered to groups who make reservations in advance. It is also possible to rent the Annex building by the hour. Now that social distancing is in effect, however, the House is open only three times a day at 10:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 3:00 PM by reservations for less than 4 people. For reservations and inquiries, please contact at +82-2-2123-3403 or 3341.