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Broken Arrow City


Broken Arrow City Hall is located at 220 South First Street, Broken Arrow, OK 74012; phone: 918-259-2400.

Beginnings [1]

The origins of the community of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma reach well into the nineteenth century, although the modern community is itself distinctly a twentieth-century development. After the Creek, or Muscogee, Indians were forced to leave their native Alabama and Georgia in the late 1820s, they clustered for defense and mutual aid in their new home in Indian Territory along the Arkansas River around the confluence of the Verdigris River. By 1834, when a military post was established higher up the Arkansas, where the Cimarron River joined the larger stream, these people felt more secure from some of their enemies and began to expand their settlements upstream. In 1834 one group, the Broken Arrow (Thlikachka) Creeks, settled near the point where the road from Fort Arbuckle to Fort Gibson intersected the Big Osage Hunting and War Trail. Over the next half century the dispersed farming community of Broken Arrow grew notwithstanding the severe circumstances of tensions with other tribes, inadequate assistance from the government despite treaty assurances of support, pressures for cultural erosion from missionaries, division of the tribe during the Civil War, and flight and ruin of their community during that war. Yet the community developed schools, churches, and farms and trading establishments. In the years following the war, the development increased but so too did the infiltration of whites into the area, even though they were legally prohibited. Ranchers, traders, and others, sometimes legally and sometimes otherwise, increased in number, the ranches expanded in size, and coal began to be mined in large quantities nearby, but the Broken Arrow area remained predominately rural, the farms still dispersed, and the population agricultural in its economy and social organization.

In 1903 a branch of the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railroad was constructed through the area, and with it the railroad secured rights to establish townsites, one of which was sold to the Arkansas Valley Townsite Company. That company then located a new town in the old Broken Arrow community and proceeded to sell lots and with its incorporation in May 1903, the organized town of Broken Arrow, Creek Nation, Indian Territory, was born. By the time Oklahoma became a state and Indian Territory disappeared in 1907, the young town held a population of 1383. The area had been transformed and the basis of a white-dominated civil society had emerged.

  1. Michael Cassity, Michael Cassity Historical Research and Photography, Broken Arrow Elementary School, Tulsa County, Oklahoma, nomination document, 2002, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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