The best part of visiting this neoclassical mansion is the small, upstairs room devoted to Dr. Physick’s medical career. The house, built in 1786, is the oldest free-standing home in Philadelphia and is filled with beautiful period furniture (and fabulous reproduction wallpaper!) – some original to the house, some on loan from local museums.
Make sure to check out the gorgeous, original fan light above the front door:
The mansion was home to Dr. Physick from 1815 until his death in 1837. Known as the father of American surgery, Dr. Physick trained in Britain and practiced at Pennsylvania Hospital (see his operating theater: A Look Inside America’s Oldest Hospital & the Oldest (Existing) Operating Theater in the World). His famous patients included: Dolley Madison, Chief Justice John Marshall (from whom he removed more than 1,000 bladder-stones, some of which are housed at the Mutter Museum Philly’s Creepiest Museum – The Mutter Museum), and Andrew Jackson. Physick pioneered the use of the stomach pump and was the first in Western medicine to extract cataracts by using suction to aspirate lens material. He was also responsible for the design of a number of surgical instruments, such as the needle forceps, the guillotine/snare for performing tonsillectomies and the use of catgut sutures. The small room devoted to his medical career is the last stop on the guided tour, so leave plenty of time for exploring the space – it contains lots of information about his inventions and displays of his medical equipment.
Location: Old City
Tours daily 11:00-3:00 Thursday- Saturday. April-November.