Dr. Doble, radiology pioneer

1 year ago

Across from the old fire station on Church Street is an apartment building with a cornerstone that says “Doble Block 1920” above the front entrance.  This building was built by Dr. Eugene Doble.  

Eugene Howard Doble was born in Livermore Falls on Sept. 19, 1896.

Doble graduated from the Baltimore Medical College in 1900 and was a specialist certified by the American Board of Radiology.  He practiced medicine here in Presque Isle as a physician and surgeon beginning in 1900. By 1903, he was one of only three radiologists in New England.  

Of course, radiation then was not as safe as it is today, and by the time of his death, he was missing several digits.  In fact, in photos of Doble as an older gentleman, one will note that his hands are typically in his pockets to hide his missing fingers.  

Doble was a fellow in the American College of Radiology and a member of the American Medical Association for 60 years.  He was recognized by the Maine Medical Association in 1950 for 50 years of practice.  

Locally, he was a member of Rotary and was president of the Presque Isle Rotary in 1934.  He was also instrumental in the establishment of Presque Isle’s first airport.

In the “old” days of Presque Isle, a “block” had a different meaning.  For us today, a block is the length of a street from one corner to another.  Then, a block signified a commercial building holding more than one business.  This was true of the Doble Block.  The building housed the doctor’s office and several others.  

At one point in time, he also owned a Buick dealership here in town.

He and his wife, Edna, resided at 54 Oak Street with the family dog, a white Russian wolfhound with brown spots by the name of Prince.  

Apparently, Dr. Doble had an interest in the macabre.  In 1917, he purchased the land on the West Chapman Road known as the Bloody Half-Acre.  This is the land on which Jim Cullen reportedly killed two deputy sheriffs by hacking them with an axe and then setting their bodies on fire.  In later years, one of the men who survived Cullen’s rampage took the life of another man on that same site.  

Doble passed away on June 29, 1960, from pulmonary emphysema.  He was the last survivor of the three doctors who introduced X-ray technology to New England.   His obituary appeared in the New York Times.  His widow also received a letter of condolence from Maine’s Governor John Reed.  

He and his wife, Edna, are both interred in the Fairmount Cemetery.

Kimberly R. Smith is the secretary/treasurer of the Presque Isle Historical Society.