|Shin Jong-chul, 88, poses for a photo in front of Chungin Pharmacy which he has operated for more than 60 years in Goesan, North Chungcheong Province. / Courtesy of Goesan County Office|
By Jun Ji-hye
Shin Jong-chul, who has operated a pharmacy for more than 60 years at a rural village in Goesan, North Chungcheong Province, donated his pharmacy to the county, so the old wooden building can be transformed into a tourist attraction.
Goesan County Office said Thursday that the 88-year-old pharmacist had donated to the county his pharmacy, called Chungin Pharmacy, with a size of 33.72 square meters as well as its 73-square-meter site, June 25.
Shin also donated old medicine cabinets, his diary and books, hoping to preserve the old pharmacy for posterity.
The county office will preserve the old building and site, and utilize them as a tourist spot, it said, noting that other tourist attractions near the pharmacy include a 200-year-old Zelkova tree and a dolmen.
Mural paintings that decorate the walls of the pharmacy have made the old building more attractive, the office said.
Shin opened the pharmacy in the small village back in 1958 and has since been an important member of the community dispensing medicine and health products to local residents.
As a highly respected elder of the village, he has been invited to weddings of more than 1,700 couples as a marriage officiant.
He has even guaranteed to pay the debts of hundreds of residents, and has already been helping to pay off debts for some, estimated at about 1 billion won ($840,000), over 40 years.
Shin's story has been featured in several magazines as well as TV programs such as "Hometown Report," the county office said, noting this has made his pharmacy one of the most famous places of the town.
"We will make full efforts to heighten the value of Shin's pharmacy as a cultural heritage spot so it can long remain in the memories of townspeople and visitors," said Lee Cha-young, who heads the county office of Goesan.