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Shippen/Wistar House

Shippen/Wistar House
Shippen/Wistar House

Corner of 4th and Locust Sts.

The area along Fourth St. between Spruce and Walnut Sts. is known as Surgeons' Row. The father of American surgery, Dr. Physick, lived on this street. Philadelphia was the home of the first hospital and medical school, and was the center of modern medicine in America at the beginning of the 19th century.

Dr. Shippen (uncle to Benedict Arnold's second wife, Peggy Shippen) lived on the corner of Fourth and Locust streets. He was in charge of medical services for the Continental Army, and he was the first professor of anatomy at the Philadelphia medical school. He was accused a number of times on the charge of grave robbing, but was never convicted (he had his students do all the "dirty work").

Later, this building became home to the internationally renowned physician, Dr. Wistar. He was so well known, he had a plant named after him: the wisteria. Both of these men were proponents of private healthcare, without undue government interference. Thomas Jefferson made his first visit to Philadelphia to have his daughter inoculated after the Virginia House of Burgesses banned such a procedure as an affront to the "processes of nature."

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