Brewster Field Airport (KHDE)
By AlbinoFlea @ 2005-11-30 10:41:15
Dr. Frank Brewster, who received his medical license in 1900, was one of the early pioneer doctors of central Nebraska having his first office in Beaver City, Nebraska. The horse and buggy was the transportation of the day in the early part of his career. However, he used many forms of transportation, including train, bicycle or handcar. Many times the roads were almost impassible which took precious time away form saving a critical patient.
A conversation with his neighbor, Wade Steven, a former WWI pilot, suggested an airplane would be a good form of transportation for a doctor. Brewster said, "I'll buy it if you can fly it". In April 1919 the biplane type Curtis Model IN-4D-2 Airplane, costing $8000, was shipped to Beaver City by flat car in two large boxes. The local drayman used his team of horses to haul the boxes to a recently made hanger constructed on a landing field about one mile east of Beaver City.
The plane's minimum speed was 45 miles per hour and could fly 74 miles per trip. In an interview in 1969, Dr. Brewster's first pilot, Wade Stevens, then a McCook attorney, recalled, "It was a bright quiet evening on May 19, 1919 when the first flight was made." The flight was successful after cruising around to get some altitude and finding the plane was properly aligned. "I did a few spirals, a few wing overs, then went to a stall and then into a spin. With plenty of altitude remaining, I came out and circled for a landing. Dr. Brewster was the first passenger on the following flight."
The first airport in Nebraska was built in Beaver City, Nebraska. Dr. Brewster later financed and helped build the first airports in McCook, Grand Island, Holdrege, Nebraska and Oberlin, Kansas. It is believed that Dr. Brewster was the first person to use an airplane commercially in the world. Paramount Universal Studios in Los Angeles, CA contacted him to do a short Technicolor film called "The Flying Doctor". The studio was filming individuals with unusual occupations for their shor feature films. Much excitement occurred during the filming and showing of the short film. The film was shown in motion picture theaters in 1939.
Dr. Brewster moved to Holdrege in 1923 and started the Brewster Hospital. He was a practicing physician for over 50 years. He died in 1961 in Holdrege, Nebraska at the age of 89 years. Holdrege's air field was named the Brewster Airport in honor of him in 1969.