Our Historical Markers across Nebraska highlight fascinating moments and places in our state’s past. Today we focus on Dr. Frank Brewster of Beaver City and how he earned the nickname “Nebraska’s Flying Doctor” back in 1919.
Along Nebraska 89, near intersection of County Rd 429, 1 mile east of Beaver City, Furnas County, Nebraska
On May 23, 1919, Dr. Frank A. Brewster of Beaver City and pilot Wade Stevens took off on a flight to Herndon, Kansas. There, Brewster performed emergency surgery to save the life of an injured man. This flight attracted worldwide attention and Dr. Brewster was regarded as perhaps the first physician to use an airplane for professional purposes. The plane was a Curtiss JN-4D “Jenny,” which the doctor had purchased a few weeks earlier. Brewster’s airstrip and hangar, located near here, was among the first private airports in Nebraska. One of the few surgeons serving a large area of Nebraska and Kansas, Brewster was quick to adopt timesaving innovations. In 1906, he purchased the first automobile in Furnas County. However, bad roads were a constant problem, which led to Brewster’s use of an airplane in his medical work. After moving to Holdrege, Nebraska, Brewster regularly flew to visit the several hospitals he had built in the two-state region. At age 71, he received his own pilot’s license and was an active flier until his death at 89 in 1961.