McDowell House And Apothecary Shop
The pioneering spirit of Dr. Ephraim McDowell-father of abdominal surgery and most prominent surgeon west of the Alleghenies in the early 19th century-is celebrated today at McDowell House.
On Christmas Day 1809. Dr. McDowell performed the world's first successful ovarian surgery.
Mrs. Jane Todd Crawford, a 46-year old Green County housewife, had been told that she was pregnant with twins. Two doctors had not been able to help her deliver, however Dr. McDowell traveled from Danville to assist. He diagnosed her with a tumor, not a pregnancy and suggested that she come to his home for an experiment.
Using no anesthesia, Dr. McDowell removed a 22 and one-half pound tumor. Mrs. Crawford recovered in 25 days and lived for 32 more years to the age of 78.
Throughout his career, Dr. McDowell performed many surgeries; including one on future United States president, James K. Polk, who traveled from Tennessee to Danville.
Dr. McDowell's house, built Georgian style, has been restored to look as it did during his lifetime. Original McDowell family portraits from the period adorn the walls. Other unique features of the House include the shake roof, reproduction draperies, and a medicinal herb garden similar to the one the McDowells would have tended.
The adjoining Apothecary Shop opened in 1795 and was fully operational until 1856. The Apothecary Shop now hosts a collection of 18th - and 19th - century pharmacy equipment, glass ware and ceramic jars.