The city’s name comes from an old Creek community in Alabama.  Members of that community were expelled from Alabama by the United States government, along the Trail of Tears in the 1830s. The Creek founded a new community in the Indian Territory, and named it after their old settlement in Alabama. The town’s Creek name was Rekackv (pronounced thlee-Kawtch-kuh), meaning “broken arrow”. The new Creek settlement was located several miles south of present-day downtown Broken Arrow.

In the 1960s, Broken Arrow began to grow from a small town into a thriving suburban city. The Broken Arrow Expressway was constructed in the mid-1960s and connected the city with downtown Tulsa, fueling rapid 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, with current population at over 110,000. 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 working, shopping and relaxing in town rather than going to other cities.