Standing proudly on Main Street in Penn Yan is the anchor building of the Yates County History Center, the Oliver House Museum, one of three buildings comprising the YCHC. The Center, formerly Yates County Genealogical & Historical Society, is one of the oldest in NYS, has been actively collecting, preserving and interpreting history since 1860. Continue reading about us...

Open Tuesday - Friday 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
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The Doctor Is In - The Doctors Oliver and 19th Century Medicine in Yates County

Dr. Andrew Oliver moved to Penn Yan in 1813 from the Cherry Valley area. He brought with him medical texts going back to the 1790s, now displayed in the Oliver House. Dr. Oliver lived on Main Street, close to the home he built in 1852 for his son Dr. William Oliver. William in turn had a son, William, who also became a doctor. It was Carrie Oliver, sister of this third doctor, who donated the Oliver House to the Village of Penn Yan, which then became the primary residence of the Yates County History Center.

Dr. Andrew Oliver and his son William both compounded their own medicines and all three doctors made house calls, sometimes riding on horseback as far as Italy. Dr. Andrew Oliver also provided smallpox vaccinations as early as 1835. Their ledgers are a rich collection of 19th century medical practices, containing recipes for medicines and compounds, names of illnesses, names of patients, and prices for care.


Dr. Andrew's desk and Dr. William II's chair

Dr. William Oliver's top hat

Medicine Vials

Dr. Andrew's glasses



Motar and Pestle

Medicine Cabinet


Recipe For Medicine


Open Tuesday - Friday 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
107 Chapel Street, Penn Yan, NY 14527
Phone 315.536.7318 | Fax 315.536.0976
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Friday, April 26, 2024 | Copyright © 2024

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