“The Old Broad on Broadway”
411 W Broadway Street
In Broken Arrow’s Rose District
The Old Broad is what I affectionately call the stately victorian farmhouse located on West Broadway Avenue, just west of Main Street in Broken Arrow, Ok. This area of town is lovingly called the Rose District, and I for one, am very excited to have renovated and brought The Old Broad yet another life in it’s 122 years of existence. (Yes, you read that right, 122 years.)
I swear, I have been manifesting this beauty into my life for years. Maybe not the house in general but her wrap around wooden porch, has been somewhat of a dream of mine.
Since the moment I walked onto her front porch, I was in love. Our clandestine love story would begin with our closing date, of all days, was my birthday!
I worked on the house non stop for weeks. It all began with peeling back the sheetrock, armed (and probably dangerous) with a crowbar, to uncover multiple layers of wallpaper glued directly onto the original 100 plus year old shiplap. The last and final layer of wallpaper was printed and painted on fabric. Each layer told another story in her history, and I was more than eager to see what else she had to tell me.
In order to tell her story, I need to go back to a time where the now residents of Broken Arrow built their homes in Elam, Oklahoma circa 1898. The residents had heard the railroad was going to go through that area and they built a town before the railroad was complete. As the idiom states, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. The railroad actually was built a few miles north of where most residents built their homes. What was left to do? They put their homes on logs and pulled them by horses to be closer to the action. That is how the Old Broad found her forever home in 1901. Broken Arrow did not become an official city until 1903.
The Old Broad, at the time, was probably only a two room home. Her first address in Elam was estimated to be around the streets of Florence and Aspen. Elam was eventually swallowed up by Broken Arrow and no longer exists.
Some of The Old Broad’s earliest residents were key in building what Broken Arrow is today. A few notable residents include, Guy Bowman, one of the founders of Arkansas Valley Bank. Fisher was the first president of Broken Arrows Historical Society. Former Mayor George Wagoner was believed to be a Justice of the Peace and performed several marriages within her walls.
The Old Broad was home to many families and several businesses in the past 122 years.
A few of her secrets were found within the walls. Three pot belly stoves shared one chimney. The chimney was roofed over and is hiding in the attic. This was a feature, I knew I must showcase as a conversation starter. I can imagine the families staying warm while eating in the kitchen, sitting in front room, or sleeping. I always believe in giving a nod to the past while marrying it with the future.
A corner of the house was cut off to give a tree the right of way. The tree is no longer with us but the once rectangular sunroom is missing a corner now.
I found myself swept up in gratitude multiple times while working on the house. I gave thanks to the people who lived inside her walls and cared for her all these years. Because they cared, she has been able to withstand 122 years of life. I believe she has many more years in her and I am so very privileged to be just one of the few that are helping her carry on her wisdom, warmth and love.
I look forward to sharing even more of her with the community.
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