Visit the former home and office of Dr. Ephraim McDowell, where made history in the medical field.
This home was built in 3 stages; first, the single-story was completed in the 1790s. Dr. Ephraim McDowell purchased the home in 1802 and added the front clapboard section in 1804. Then, the rear brick office and the formal gardens were added in 1820. Now, it is a beautifully restored house museum filled with historically appropriate period furniture. Dr. McDowell's apothecary shop is right next door and is furnished with 18th and 19th-century apothecary ware. In 1809, Dr. McDowell went to Green County, Kentucky, to see Mrs. Jane Crawford because her pregnancy never came to term. She thought she was having twins. After her examination, the doctor told her that she had an ovarian tumor and that if she would travel to his home and office in Danville, Kentucky, he could remove the tumor.
Dr. McDowell returned home, and Mrs. Crawford, who was 46 years old at the time, traveled 60 miles on horseback a few days later. She rested for a few days before the experimental surgery. On Christmas Day in 1809, the historic operation began. The 22 1/2 pound tumor was removed without anesthesia because it was not known at the time, and the surgery took only 25 minutes. Mrs. Crawford repeated psalms and sang hymns during the surgery, which was the first successful removal of an ovarian tumor in the world. She stayed in Danville for 25 days to recover, then headed back home. She lived 32 more years and died at the age of 78 in the year 1842. The house was sold in 1830 when Dr. Ephraim McDowell passed. This home is now a National Historic Landmark and is a historic site of the world's first ovariotomy performed without anesthesia. Tours are available Monday through Saturday at 10:30 am, 1:00 pm, and 2:30 pm. Each tour lasts about 45 minutes to an hour long.