Fletchers deliver $328,800 to McDowell House

October 29, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

When Dr. Scott Scutchfield, who used to practice in Danville, had Gov. Ernie Fletcher in his office to check up on an injured shoulder, he took the opportunity to lobby for money to save McDowell House from water damage.

"That's what you call arm-twisting," the governor joked Thursday at a gathering to celebrate a $328,800 federal grant for the house.

Fletcher joined his wife, Glenna, who came to tour the house. Snacks were laid out on tables inside the house and candles lighted, almost as if Dr. Ephraim McDowell had been expecting the company himself.

McDowell is famous for performing the first successful abdominal surgery. On Christmas morning in 1809, he removed a 22-pound tumor from Jane Todd Crawford.


Many there, including Fletcher, applauded McDowell and said the feat was representative of what Kentuckians, past and present, could accomplish.

Fletcher said support of McDowell House helped complete the story of Kentucky, attract tourists and recruit people to live here.

The grant came from the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century and will be used to repair water damage.

Local businesses and people donated the $82,200 that will be used to match the federal funds.

"We like to help places that help themselves," Fletcher said.

Danville City Commission, after once turning it down, agreed to spend $11,000 to build a storm sewer on Second Street that will prevent future flooding.

Preservation architect Joe Opperman has said that the house and its collection of furniture and portraits were threatened by moisture. The house has lost two furnaces in 20 years because of water problems in the basement.

State Rep. Mike Harmon, R-Junction City, and state Rep. Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville, were at the function to congratulate Danville.

In the wings were a bevy of middle school students that Glenna Fletcher pointed to as one reason to save the house - so that our communities can become classrooms.

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