Crawford W. Long of Jefferson, Georgia, was the first physician to use sulfuric ether as an anesthesia during surgery. This happened in 1842, and it has always amazed me that a man working as a doctor in what was then a hardscrabble frontier down had the education and vision to figure out why ether was so much better than chloroform.
The Crawford W. Long museum celebrates his achievement in what is still a very small town (about 9,000) about 60 miles northeast of Atlanta along I-85. Three buildings comprise the museum, including an 1858 general store and an 1880s brick building that served as a pharmacy and doctor’s office.
For the past 18 months, these buildings have been undergoing a major restoration effort which has included repairs to old brick, a new roof, leveling and painting the store, new flooring and new wiring. When the museum re-opens (probably in January) it will also have new rooms opened to the public filled with updated exhibits and many artifacts from the world of medicine of the 1800s and early 1900s.
Since my wife has been directing the restoration, covered by a $200,000 USDA Rural Development Grant, I’ve had a front row seat from which to view the transformation of the structure, its exhibits and its programs.
If you are planning to visit northeast Georgia next year or travel to and from Atlanta via I-85, then I hope you will stop and see the museum after the grand re-opening. The museum’s web site has pictures of some of the restoration work and will announce the opening date. I’m really looking forward to it!