Wicked Good Guides / Bizarro Boston /

Ether memorial

Public Garden near Arlington Street

Look for the statue of the "Good Samaritan" metaphorically (and melodramatically) comforting the afflicted with some ether. In hero-mad Boston, the first question that comes to mind is why doesn't the statue show William Morton, the dentist who first used the stuff (in an 1846 operation at Massachusetts General)? At the time sculptor John Quincy Adams Ward (now there's a Boston name to reckon with) began working on the statue, it wasn't clear Morton was the true inventor - another doctor had called dibs. Hence the symbolic discovery, which prompted Oliver Wendell Holmes, Boston's 19th-century quipster (he dubbed Boston the Hub), to call the statue a "monument to ether - or either."

The Mass. General Ether Dome, where Morton applied the gas, is still around and open for public viewing (when it's not used for lectures) - and features (for no apparent reason) a mummy and a skeleton.

Conquering surgical pain: Four men stake their claim - More on the controversy, includes a photo of the top of the statue.



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