Marker Monday: The Savidge Brothers, Aviation Pioneers
299 S Spruce St, Ewing, Holt County, Nebraska View this marker's location 42.255635, -98.34392
Near here was the scene of some of Nebraska's earliest experiments with flight in a heavier-than-air vehicle. Sometime before late 1907, Martin P. Savidge's sons set out to construct a flying machine.
They began by studying hawks, then went on to build model gliders, then full size gliders, and finally a self-powered airplane. The first public demonstration was successfully held on Sunday, May 7, 1911.
Following this success, the brothers spent five years barnstorming throughout the Great Plains. Matt Savidge was among the first to develop a method of skywriting. During these five years, the brothers built and flew three different biplanes.
After a barnstorming tour through Texas, the brothers returned home in the spring of 1916 to make repairs and adjustments on their plane. During a test flight on June 17, 1916, the plane crashed, killing Matt Savidge.
After this tragedy, the family of the young fliers insisted that they give up their dangerous pastime. Thus ended one of the earliest chapters of Nebraska aviation history.