McDowell House - Museum, Apothecary and Gardens

125 S 2nd St, Danville, KY 40422
(859) 236-2804


Book Tour for Available Times

First Floor

The First Floor features an entryway, library, parlor, and dining room, all furnished in the style of the early 1800s when Dr. Ephraim McDowell and his family lived in the home.

One highlight is the pianoforte that belonged to Dr. McDowell’s wife, Sarah. It is thought to have been a wedding present from her father, Isaac Shelby, the first governor of Kentucky. Another highlight is the unique Belgian china set which is the same pattern that belonged to the McDowells. Dr. McDowell is said to have brought his pieces back from Europe where he received medical training as a young man.

Dr. McDowell married Sarah Shelby in 1802, when she was 18 and he was 31. The rooms on the first floor would have often been used for entertaining guests. Sarah was fond of throwing dance parties and was officially sanctioned by her prim and proper church for doing so. This may or may not have been the reason the McDowells eventually switched to the denomination of Sarah’s youth, with Dr. McDowell donating land on Main Street for Trinity Episcopal Church to be built, which is where it is still located today.

The McDowells were deeply involved in the social, educational, and religious life of their community; and undoubtedly entertained many local, state, and perhaps national figures in these rooms.