Three Early Dentists
Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!
By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Historical Society Museum
Doctors George MacKay, Clarence Harrigan and E. H. Brown were early dentists in Millinocket. All three arrived in Millinocket in the early days to provide dental services to the residents of the growing community.
Dr. MacKay was “considered an astounding dentist in the area.” A graduate of the Baltimore Medical School in 1900, he then relocated to Millinocket where he opened his practice in the Windsor Hotel. (Corner of Katahdin Ave. and Pine Street). A later location for Dr. MacKay was the second floor of the Decker-Gonya Block (Central St. side). You can see him looking out the window in an old photo. This block on the corner of Penobscot Ave. and Central St. first housed a drug store with William Heebner as druggist. It was very common for doctors, dentists, lawyers and other professionals to have offices above stores and shops.
In the later years of his approximately 60-year career, his office was in his home on Highland Avenue. A 1932 receipt shows Dr. MacKay performed one extraction in August for $2.00, two more extractions in September for $5.00 and fitted an upper plate for $25.00!
Dr. Clarence Harrigan graduated from Tufts Dental College in 1917 and received dental experience while in the service (early U.S. in WWI) while at the camps in New Jersey and at Camp Devens, Massachusetts. He then came to Millinocket in 1918 where he practiced for 40 years. A 1924 news article states his office “is modernly equipped with the latest improved appliances including a gas and oxygen machine, so that the most difficult work may be accomplished with the least amount of pain.”
Dr. Harrigan also raised and trained bird dogs (setters, pointers) that won many awards statewide. He was also a member of the town’s Skeet Shooting Club and later the Fin and Feather Club.
Dr. E. H. Brown, DMD was a graduate of Tufts Dental College. A 1924 news article states Brown had recently opened a practice in Millinocket. It was “a strictly modern affair, equipped with a well-arranged laboratory and the very latest appointments. While Dr. Brown has been but a short space of time in Millinocket, he has already built up a very satisfactory practice. He takes a great deal of interest in his profession and is constantly studying suggested improvements that his patients may benefit should new successful discoveries in advanced dentistry be discovered.” In the 1940’s Brown moved to Arizona and continued to practice dentistry there.
The museum currently has a display of medical and dental instruments etc. as well as bottles form numerous local pharmacies. They are displayed in a vintage glass instrument case from the GNP First Aid Room. A set of early dental instruments from Dr. William Leslie Frost can be seen there. (Info on Dr. Frost? If so, please share!)