A living exhibit to educate and enlighten people of all ages about the importance of self-sufficiency and the intimate connection of earlier peoples to the lands they inhabited.
The garden was conceived and designed to educate people about the critical importance of plants to both Native and Colonial Americans. Medicines in this era were most often derived from available plants. These plants were collected from the wild or intentionally cultivated. Colonial physicians would frequently have a special garden (an apothecary garden) adjacent to their homes to supply medicinal plants.
The garden contains over twenty different species of plants (mostly native) that were used by Native Americans and Colonial settlers. Some of the plant species growing here include New York Ironweed, Toothache tree, Wild Senna, Turtlehead, and Rattlesnake Master. An antique chimney pot sits in the center of the pathway, symbolizing the importance of the hearth in drying and preparing plants for medicine.
The name, “The Doctors Apothecary Garden” pays tribute to the many doctors who either owned the Old Fort House or were responsible for saving it as a museum. Among these physicians was Dr. John Cochran, George Washington’s personal surgeon and the first surgeon general of the United States Army. He was married to Gertrude Schuyler, the sister of Gen. Philip Schuyler, and owned the house sometime between 1778 and 1783. In 1881 another physician, Dr. Robert A. Linendoll purchased the property and owned it until his death around 1900.
In 1949, twelve businessmen purchased the Old Fort House with the idea of using it for the benefit of the community. Among these twelve were three local doctors: Alexander Avrin, MD, Joseph Feingold, MD, Byron Tillotson, MD. Another physician, Dr. Silas Banker, was the first president of the Fort Edward Historical association and one of the first town historians.
The garden was funded by a grant from the New York Council for the Humanities.