School History

History of Broadway Church and School

The Beginning

Phillipians 3:13,14

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

On September 19, 1934, future members of Broadway Baptist Church met in the home of Mr. & Mrs. C.M. Terwilleger located at Brady street in Oak Lawn.  During their second meeting, this group formed a Sunday School that met September 30, 1934 at Harrisburg School (now JR Harris Elementary) which is at the intersection of Broadway and Manchester Streets.  The church adopted the name "Broadway Baptist Sunday School" in October 1934 followed by a recommendation in January of 1935 to organize the Broadway Baptist Church.  G.C. Griffith became the first Pastor of the church in August of that year.

In Ephesians 2:20 Paul tells us that the church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone

In 1935, the newly formed congregation had no land, no building, no money and no credit.  These members ventured out on a step of faith, setting the foundation that would one day become not only a sanctuary for God's word, but a learning center for children to grow physically, mentally and spiritually.  Charter church member, Judge J.S. Bracewell devised and copyrighted a bond financing program that enabled the congregation to purchase 5 lots of land on Bowie Street and construct a new building in April of 1936.  This was a white framed building that housed the sanctuary, educational space, nursery and church offices.  By the 6th anniversary of the church, there were 892 members.  In 1942, a red brick educational building was constructed which is still used by the church today.

Judge Bracewell's bond financing program was called the "Broadway Plan of Church Finance" and was presented throughout North America.  This plan helped to build over 6000 churches throughout the United States and Canada.

Formation of School

Proverbs 22:6

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Judge Bracewell was instrumental in the development of the pre-school which was founded in 1949.  Upon moving to Austin, Bracewell donated his home to the church.  Located at 7909 East Magnolia, this home became the new Kindergarten, Nursery School and Day Care in which Mrs. Nels Christiansen was the Administrator.

Broadway School, consisting of grades 1-3 opened in 1951 with an enrollment of 97 students.  Grades 4-6 were added the following year.  Mrs. James Seals Walker was the first principal and served in this position until 1955.

Mayme Lee (Pat) O’Brien became the school principal in 1955 and served for 17 years.  During this time, the school administration and classroom building, (what we’ve come to know as the Elementary School building) was constructed in 1957.

The school building located at 7909 East Magnolia, burned (date unknown) and was a complete loss.  The new preschool building was constructed on the Broadway Campus and opened in the 1974-75 school year.  Between 1972 and 1978, Mr. Wilburn Dugger, Mr. Herman Hosier, and Mrs. Bobbie Lee Ashley served as Principal of Broadway Baptist School.  In the seventies, the JQ Chadwick Building (Junior High), Science Building, and a new Gymnasium and High School building were completed.  In 1977, Broadway School graduated its first class from senior high school and got a new mascot, the Bobcat.  Prior to 1977 the school mascot was the Bullfrog.

In 1978, Mrs. Elizabeth Gebhardt became Principal and served until 1992.  The school thrived during this time and enrollment was in excess of 700 students.

Mr. Larry Bowles became Headmaster after Mrs. Gebhardt’s retirement and was with the school until it's closing in 2001.  Mr. Bowles was responsible for making major repairs to the school, implementing a new Christian based curriculum and addressing traffic safety issues along Bowie Street.

The Teachers

Broadway Baptist School was blessed to have many great teachers over the years, teachers who not only taught, but teachers who inspired, cared, were dedicated, were involved, gave freely of their time, their resources and their knowledge.  These teachers were not just educational leaders, they were spiritual advisors.  It is because of them that so many alumni and former students  are sucessful professionally and spiritually.

School and Student Activities

Through the years, the school’s athletic teams took top awards in the following sports: Football, Basketball, Volleyball, Baseball, Softball, Soccer, Cross Country/Track, Flag Football, Cheerleading and Drill Team.

Students also participated in various organizations and clubs such as: Choir, Band, Student Council, Brownies, Girl Scouts, Graffiti Newspaper Staff, Beacon Staff, Red Pages Staff, Science Club, Spanish Club, Beta Club, Drama Club, Photography Club, Art Club, Archery Club, Pep Squad, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Honor Society, and many others.

Students enjoyed various yearly activities such as, Science Fair, Field Day, Homecoming, Rock-A-Thon, Skate -A-Thon, Yearbook Homecoming, Fall Festival, Sports Banquet, Drill Team Banquet , Junior-Senior Banquet, Christmas Pageant, Easter Pageant, St. Patrick’s Day singing telegrams, Sixth grade Trip, Senior Trip, Junior Ring Ceremony, and Junior High and High School Commencement.


For the 50 years that Broadway Baptist School was open, it successfully educated the children of East End, and fostered the needs of the community.  While most everyone who attended the school feels a special love and unique bond with other students and teachers, it is somewhat difficult to put into words just how special this place was.

It is our hope that by coming together this summer we can preserve the memory of the school while strengthing old friendships and building new ones.

If you have any historical information to contribute to this page, please contact us through the site.