African American Physician — Already a Comic Book Hero — Has Street Named for Him

man in white coat
Image via the Boston Legacy Foundation.
Dr. Frank Erdman Boston (1890–1960).

State Route 2004 in Lansdale/Hatfield is now the Dr. Frank Erdman Boston Memorial Highway. The change was enacted by the recent passing of Pa. House Bill 1560, writes Jon Campisi in the Montgomeryville-Lansdale Patch.

Dr. Boston was a Phila.-born physician-surgeon who served as a medical officer in World War I.

After being discharged from the military, he settled in Lansdale, where he became one of the first Black American founders of both a hospital and an ambulance service. Those entities — Jefferson Lansdale Hospital (est. 1934 as the Elm Terrace Hospital) and the Volunteer Medical Services Corps (est. 1944) — remain in service today.

As his reputation for service spread, so, too did recognition of his work. Dr. Boston may be the first African American to receive presidential citations from two different presidents for his work (Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower).

His passing in 1960 led to further posthumous distinctions:

  • Dr. Boston’s Lansdale monument at 7th and Broad Streets is considered to be the first pre-Civil Rights Movement physical honorific to an individual African American.
  • In 2021, Harleysville Marvel/DC Comics artist Khoi Pham launched a comic book, Doc Boston Adventures, based on the veteran/physician’s life.

More on Dr. Frank Erdman Boston and his new Lansdale honorific is at the Montgomeryville-Lansdale Patch.

It takes a special Montgomery County resident to warrant becoming a comic-book hero.

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