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Hill-Physick House

The 18th-century mansion of the “Father of American Surgery”

Hill-Physick House

Dr. Philip Syng Physick was one of the most accomplished physicians of his time, and a tour of his 18th-century mansion in Society Hill includes some of the medical and surgical tools he invented. Credit: Photo courtesy Independence Visitor Center



Medical drama. Great wealth. Marital scandal.

Forced by his father to study medicine, Dr. Philip Syng Physick became one of the most accomplished physicians of his time.

A 19th-century soap opera ensued when his wife left him, something unheard of in that era. From a medical office located in his spectacular mansion, he treated his high-profile patients including Dolley Madison, President Andrew Jackson and Chief Justice John Marshall.

Richly furnished in the Empire and Federal styles, a tour of Physick’s mansion (located in Society Hill) includes some of the medical and surgical tools he invented – bloodletting instruments, stomach pumps, clamps and tubes to remove kidney stones. Primitive, yes, but Dr. Physick’s treatments were on the cutting edge of 18th- and 19th-century medical technology.

Physick also treated victims of the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1793. And while his preserved office and artifacts are fascinating, it is the melodrama of his personal life that makes a tour of his mansion so fascinating.

Dr. Physick Soda

Many historians believe Dr. Philip Syng Physick sold the first flavored carbonated beverage for $1.50 a month to treat his patients for the relief of gastric disorders.

The soda has been repackaged for modern drinkers in black cherry flavor and is made with sugar cane by Philadelphia Brewing Company.

Snag a bottle at Hill-Physick House, the Independence Visitor Center and other historical sites and local venues in the city.

For more information on Dr. Physick Soda, click the button below.

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More Information

For more information on Hill-Physick House, which is owned and operated by the Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks (PhilaLandmarks), click the button below.

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321 S. 4th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 925-7866

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