Shortly after the Civil War in 1865, the town now known as Woodway was founded by a war veteran named Burl Kendrick who purchased 320 acres on the eastern side of present day Woodway.
In 1877, Whitehall Church was built where the modern Whitehall Park is located on Santa Fe Drive. In 1901, land was deeded by Captain Kendrick for the first school named Whitehall School. These two landmarks were the center of all social activities for the surrounding areas until the school closed in 1918 and the church closed in 1924. The Carleen Bright Arboretum has an exact replica of the original Whitehall Church which continues the legacy of the original Whitehall as it hosts many social functions for the area.
In 1922, homes were built in the Rainbow Lake area as summer getaways. Santa Fe Drive was made an official street and the first well was drilled in 1950. This same well still serves the city today.
The first name given to the area surrounding the school built between Estates and Highway 84 was the Village of Midway. In May of 1955, some of the citizens who lived in the area got together and talked about incorporation; and since they had areas called Woodland West and the Village of Midway, they settled on the name of Woodway. On May 23, 1955, they filed the paper work for incorporation at the McLennan County Courthouse and the presiding judge set June 11 as the date voters would decide on incorporation. On June 20, 1955, the ballots were certified and the Village of Woodway was created. At the time, it boasted a population of only 250 people.
Since then, Woodway has gone through many changes, from a village to city and from general rule to home rule. Woodway has grown from a small community of 250 people in 1955, to a thriving picturesque master planned community of approximately 9,000.
Establishing City Facilities & City Departments
In 1956, the first volunteer fire department was formed and in 1963 the first police chief, John Griffin, was hired. In 1969, the volunteer fire department was dissolved; however in 1970, the Village saw a need so they reinstated the fire department and authorized manpower to operate the fire equipment. By 1972 most of the manpower for the fire department was put under the chief of police.
In 1975, the police and fire departments were combined and became the Public Safety Department. The City Hall, Police, and Fire Departments were located at 200 Sharron Drive until March, 1992, when City Hall moved to 924 Estates Drive. Public Safety moved to its current location on 920 Estates Drive in 1993. In December of 2007 construction on the new City Hall located at 922 Estates Drive was completed. The location at 924 Estates Drive then became the Community Service and Development Department building with the Administration and Utility Billing Departments moving to the new location.
The Carleen Bright Arboretum project began in 1997. This facility has become a premier location for weddings and rehearsals, art exhibits, special events of all kinds, and meetings.
Along with the mayors have been eight City Managers in the history of the city and they are:
- Carl Dossey
- James Wood (Interim)
- John T. Lynch, Jr.
- Mark McDaniel
- Marvin P. Norwood
- Robbie Bean
- Yousry Zakhary
- Dr. Shawn Oubre