From Garland Local History and Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volume 2-Number 1, March 1973


Author:  Kenneth Frank

The local congregation of the Church of Christ was established in Garland, Texas in 1925, meeting first in a theatre and then in school buildings.  In 1930, the first meeting place was erected at the corner of Eighth and Austin Streets at a cost of $2,300.00.  Membership at that time consisted of five families.  As the congregation grew, it became necessary for the congregation to build a larger auditorium.  Then, in the late 1940’s a classroom wing was added.

In 1954, at Eighth and Austin, two Sunday morning worship services were necessary to accommodate the large attendance.  Plans for a new building got underway.  The entire old structure was torn down, and part of the present building was erected on that site.  It consisted of an auditorium with a seating capacity of 550, 16 classrooms, literature and supply room, office, utility room, engine room, two nursery rooms, two dressing rooms for baptismal services, four restrooms, and central heating and cooling at an approximate cost of $70,000, with the large portion of labor being performed by members who were engaged in the building trades by occupation.  Construction was supervised by E. A. Owens, a local builder and member of the congregation.  Conservative estimates are that by utilizing membership labor and a member contractor, a savings in excess of $30,000 was realized.

In 1955, four elders and seven deacons were selected and appointed.  The elders were Jack Davis, John Ferguson, Coleman Fikes, and E. A. Owens.  Of these, Jack Davis is still serving.

Plans for a second congregation began to materialize, and in 1955, about three acres of land was purchased on Saturn Road at a cost of $7,000.  A building loan was secured, and besides purchasing the lot, Eighth and Austin made the down payment on the loan in the amount of $16,500, with the new congregation assuming the mortgage.  This congregation is today known as the Saturn Road congregation of the Church of Christ.

In 1956, Eighth and Austin contributed $8,000 and Saturn Road congregation contributed $2,000 toward building for the Negro congregation of the Church of Christ.  This building was erected at the corner of Helen Street and Avenue D.  For quite some time Eighth and Austin contributed $100 per month to support a regular evangelist for this congregation, and two of the Bible Class teachers and others helped have weekly classes for the children of the Negro congregation.

Also, in 1956, a $20,000 house was built at 522 West Ridgewood Drive for residence of preachers serving the Eighth and Austin Street congregation.  By 1958, Eighth and Austin was forced to resort to two Sunday morning worship services to accommodate the crowds.  Feeling that a spiritual family relationship could be better maintained by having a single worship service, plans were instituted for a third congregation in Garland.  The church officials, the elders, acting for and in behalf of the local congregation, purchased a lot on Broadway Boulevard for $7,000.00, rented a commercial building in which to begin services, and spend $2,053.93 for furniture, Bibles, song books, utilities, etc.  Members from Eighth and Austin, from Saturn Road, and from Mesquite formed the nucleus for the Broadway congregation.

In 1960 Bible class attendance at Eighth and Austin had again outgrown classroom facilities, and construction was begun on a new $40,000, 3950 square-foot educational wing.  In February of 1961, it was ready for use.  It consisted of five large classrooms, two rest rooms, heating and cooling units for the wing, a secretary’s office, a preacher’s study, and another supply room.  Again, E. A. Owens supervised the construction of this building.

By mutual consent of the officials of all three congregations (Eighth and Austin, Saturn Road, and Broadway) the Walnut Village Congregation was begun, and a building was erected on Shiloh road.  Membership there consisted of families from the original congregations who lived in that area, along with several families who had recently moved to Garland and lived in that vicinity.  Soon, however, it became necessary to begin a fifth congregation.  Eighth and Austin took a leading part in this endeavor by making contributions toward the purchase of lots where the Buckingham Road congregation is now located.

At Eighth and Austin in 1964, seven large additional classrooms were added to the existing structure at an approximate cost of $30,000.

In 1968 a new building was constructed with a 1,200-seat auditorium and 30 additional classrooms.  At that time, the name was changed to The Austin Street congregation, and in the meantime the Castle Drive congregation was begun in northeast Garland.

Thus, within a little over three decades, the Church of Christ in Garland has grown from a membership of twenty-five to seven congregations, with a membership more than keeping pace with the fantastic growth of Garland.