A Center of Foreign Socializing: Jemulpo Club
After the opening of its port in 1883, Incheon has developed into a city where the cultures of many countries coexist. It was an early example of multiculturalism in Korea, which is evident in the buildings constructed in the architectural styles of various cultures.
Of these buildings, one of the best examples of early modern architecture is the Jemulpo Club, which is located in Songhak-dong, Jung-gu. Following its construction, the Jemulpo Club was quickly surrounded by settlements of Japan, China, and Western countries. It was a social club exclusively for foreigners and also served as the arena for dialogue concerning diplomatic concessions.
Originally named “Jemulpo Club,” the word “club” was changed to the Japanese transliteration “gurakubu” after the foreign settlement system was abandoned. It is still called Jemulpo Gurakbu in Korean today. The Jemulpo Club was designed by the Russian architect Afanasy Ivanovich Seredin-Sabatin, and construction began in 1900. The structure was completed on June 22, 1901.
After the elimination of the settlement system in 1913, the Jemulpo Club was used by Japanese veterans, and after World War II, it became a club for American officers. Used as the building for the Incheon Metropolitan City Museum beginning in 1953, it has housed the Storytelling Museum since 2007, after undergoing large-scale remodeling.