Broken Arrow is a city located in the northeastern part of the U.S. state of Oklahoma, primarily in Tulsa County but also with a small section of the city in western Wagoner County. It is the largest suburb of Tulsa. According to the 2010 census, Broken Arrow has a population of 98,850 residents and is the fourth largest city in the state. However, a July 1, 2011 estimate reports that the population of the city is 100,073, making it the 285th largest city in the United States and the smallest with a population above 100,000. The city is part of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area, which has a population of 937,478 residents.
Lots for the town site were sold in 1902 by the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad and it was named Broken Arrow by William. S. Fears, secretary of the company. The city was named for a Creek community settled by Creek Indians who came to Oklahoma from Alabama along the Trail of Tears.
Though Broken Arrow was originally an agricultural community, its current economy is diverse. The city has the third largest concentration of manufacturers in the state.
The city's name comes from an old Creek community in Alabama. When members of that community moved to Oklahoma along the Trail of Tears and founded a new community, they named it after their old settlement in Alabama. The town's Creek name was Rekackv (pronounced thlee-Kawtch-kuh), meaning broken arrow. The new settlement was located several miles south of present-day downtown Broken Arrow.
Decades later, the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad built a railroad which ran through the area. MKT was granted town site privileges along the route. They sold three of the as-yet-unnamed sites in 1902 to the Arkansas Valley Town Site company. William. S. Fears, secretary of the company, was allowed to choose and name one of the locations. He selected a site about 18 miles southeast of Tulsa and about five miles north of the thlee-Kawtch-kuh settlement and named the new town site Broken Arrow, after the former Indian settlement. The MKT railroad, which ran through the middle of the city, still exists today and is now owned by Union Pacific which currently uses it for freight.
For the first decades of Broken Arrow's history, the town's economy was based mainly on agriculture. The coal industry also played an important role, with several strip coal mines located near the city in the early 20th century. The city's newspaper, the Broken Arrow Ledger, started within a couple of years after the city's founding. Broken Arrow's first school was built in 1904. The city did not grow much during the first half of the 1900s. During this time Broken Arrow's main commercial center was along Main Street. Most of the city's churches were also located on or near Main Street as well.
Haskell State School of Agriculture opened in the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma Opera House on November 15, 1909. The school closed in 1917 for lack of funding, and the building was then used as by Broken Arrow High School.The building was razed in 1987. Only a marker remains at 808 East College Street in Broken Arrow. The school is commemorated on the National Register of Historic Places.
In the 1960s, Broken Arrow began to grow from a small town into a suburban city. The Broken Arrow Expressway (Highway 51) was constructed in the mid-1960s and connected the city with downtown Tulsa, fueling growth in Broken Arrow. The population swelled from a little above 11,000 in 1970 to more than 50,000 in 1990, and then more than 74,000 by the year 2000. During this time, the city was more of a bedroom community. In recent years, city leaders have pushed for more economic development to help keep more Broken Arrowans shopping and dining in town rather than going to other cities.