Attraction

Hill-Physick House

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

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Photo by M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia
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Overview

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.

From a medical office located in his spectacular mansion, now known as Hill-Physick House, he treated his high-profile patients including Dolley Madison, President Andrew Jackson and Chief Justice John Marshall.

Physick also treated victims of the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1793.

A 19th-century soap opera ensued when his wife left him, something unheard of in that era.

While Physick’s preserved office and artifacts are fascinating, the melodrama of his personal life makes a tour of his mansion so fascinating.

The Experience

A 19th-century soap opera ensued when Dr. Physick's wife left him.

Richly furnished in the Empire and Federal styles, a tour of the Hill-Physick House (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.

Don’t Miss

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 .

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