Statement of Significance (as of designation - January 12, 1965):
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.