Dr. Ephraim McDowell House

Also known as: McDowell House
125--127 S. 2nd St., Danville, Kentucky


Dr. Ephraim McDowell Apothecary Shop

1. Historic American Buildings Survey Lester Jones, Photographer May 30, 1940 VIEW OF APOTHECARY SHOP

Photo from the Historic American Buildings Survey

View photos at Library of Congress


Street View 


Here, in the two-story frame house that served as both home and office, Dr. Ephaim McDowell (1771-1830) performed the first successful ovariotomy. In December 1809, Dr. McDowell was called to treat Mrs. Jane Todd Crawford of Greensberg, Kentucky, whom he diagnosed as suffering from an ovarian tumor. After warning his patient of the risks involved, Dr. McDowell asked her to make the journey to his office (Mrs. Crawford traveled the distance on horseback), where, assisted by his nephew James, Dr. McDowell excised the tumor. The complete recovery of his patient did much to dispel the misconception among both physicians and laymen that exposing the inner wall of the abdomen invariably produced fatal infection, and eventually led to the development of a new area of surgical practice. -- National Historic Landmark statement of significance, January 12, 1965

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966
Reference number
NR name
McDowell, Dr. Ephraim, House
Area of significance
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
B - Person
Property type
Historic functions
Single dwelling; Clinic
Current function
Periods of significance
1800-1824; 1750-1799; 1825-1849
Significant years
1795; 1809; 1830
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 2

Update Log 

  • July 21, 2017: New photo from Bill Eichelberger
  • October 28, 2016: New Street View added by Bill Eichelberger