Ether Monument

Boston, Massachusetts
The Ether Monument is a landmark within Boston’s Public Garden. It is dedicated to the discovery of ether’s anesthetic properties.
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The Ether Monument, also known as The Good Samaritan, stands as a significant landmark within Boston’s Public Garden, serving as a poignant reminder of the monumental breakthrough in medical history—the discovery of ether’s anesthetic properties. Erected in 1868, this towering structure, reaching approximately 40 feet in height, holds distinction as the oldest monument nestled within the verdant expanse of the public garden. Its creation is credited to the collaborative efforts of architect William Robert Ware and sculptor John Quincy Adams Ward.

The monument’s design is both captivating and thought-provoking, featuring a portrayal of a medieval Moorish-Spanish garbed physician tenderly attending to an unconscious figure. The figure of the physician, commonly interpreted as a representation of the Good Samaritan, holds a significant cloth in his left hand, symbolizing the application of ether—an innovation that would revolutionize the field of medicine in the centuries to come.

However, what makes the Ether Monument particularly intriguing is not just its artistic rendition but the historical context it encapsulates. At its base, inscriptions detail the momentous occasion when ether was first utilized as an anesthetic, attributing this milestone to the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston during October of 1846. This inscription, while acknowledging the significance of the discovery, strategically sidesteps the contentious debate surrounding the true progenitor of this medical breakthrough. Notably, the monument refrains from explicitly naming individuals like William T. G. Morton or Crawford Long, who had also laid claim to the discovery.

Moreover, the monument’s restoration in 2006 underscores its enduring relevance and significance. Through meticulous upkeep, including the repair of its four lion-headed fountains, the Ether Monument continues to serve as a testament to human ingenuity and progress in the field of medicine. Its presence within the Public Garden not only adds to the aesthetic allure of the surroundings but also invites reflection upon the profound impact of medical advancements on human well-being.

In essence, the Ether Monument stands as more than just a commemorative structure; it symbolizes resilience, innovation, and the relentless pursuit of alleviating human suffering—a timeless testament to the remarkable strides made in the realm of medical science.


Address: 8 Arlington Street, Boston Public Garden Boston, Massachusetts
Place GPS Coordinates: 42.354833, -71.071444
Parking GPS Coordinates: 42.354833, -71.071444
Parking Notes: Ample parking can be found near the monument. The best parking area for visitors of the Ether Monument is right at the Boston Public Garden garage. Visitors can also look for street parking or consider taking public transit.

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