By: Duane Blankenship | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: June 2009
Broken Arrow Historical Society Museum board members (L to R) are excited for the opening celebration June 6: (Front row) Dr. Betty Gerber, executive director, Dr. Gary Gerber, (Back row) Dick Zwart, Janice Anderson, Gretta Dugan, Janice Partridge, Barbara Kimbrough, Jan Collins, Patsy Brewer and Pauline Lucas.
The long-awaited opening celebration of the Broken Arrow Historical Society Museum is scheduled for Saturday, June 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and everyone in the community is invited to attend. Admission to the celebration is free, and a good time for the entire family is guaranteed.
According to Dr. Betty Gerber, executive director, the opening will feature the unveiling of the museum’s new gallery and exhibits. Some of these exhibits include the Childers Log Cabin from the Civil War Era, Broken Arrow Creek Indian Roots, Katy Railroad, Cotton Jubilee and Cultivation, Broken Arrow Coal Mining 1900-1948, History of Rooster Days, and BA Veterans of WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm.
Dr. Gerber said that also on display will be a special exhibit featuring works of art by the Green Country Watercolor Society. You won’t want to miss this spotlight on some of the best artistic talents in the state of Oklahoma.
Several outdoor activities are scheduled, including Noel Grayson and his presentation of Southeastern Tribes Hunters’ Camp. Participants will be in costume discussing and conducting demonstrations on flint knapping, bow and arrow making, blowgun and whistle darts, brain tanning, twine bags, fire-building using flint, and traps and fishing. Jimmie Sanders will host a Muscogee-Creek Camp in which costumed participants present demonstrations on brain tanning hides and traditional life ways. Mary Smith, Muscogee-Creek basket weaver, will discuss types of baskets, materials, and styles used by her people.
Other outdoor exhibits will feature antique tractors, vintage automobiles and military vehicles. Food vendors will be on hand as well.
The city of Broken Arrow is rich with history, and residents are grateful to those who have so diligently preserved significant pieces of that history for us to enjoy. Broken Arrow was founded in 1902 – before Oklahoma statehood in 1907 – in the area known as Indian Territory. A group of Creek Indians who had been forced to travel to Indian Territory named their new settlement after the place in Alabama where they had lived prior to moving west on the Trail of Tears. No arrows were actually broken, and there was no symbolic meaning of peace in the name. While many think of the term “broken arrow” as meaning an act of peace by Native Americans a few hundred years ago, the name actually comes from the Creek Indians who broke branches from trees to make their arrows, rather than cutting them off.
After the Katy RR Station was constructed in 1903, cotton gins, elevators and stockyards sprang up along the tracks. Livestock and other farm produce were shipped from Broken Arrow. The city continued developing with a couple of banks, a hotel, and its own newspaper and dry goods store, and the railroad began bringing in more new residents. Churches sprang up on Main Street, and a school was opened. With the Katy Railroad running through the heart of Broken Arrow, it became a healthy little city that was soon self-sufficient. And the rest is, as they say, history!
If you like learning about the past, especially that of your city of Broken Arrow, be sure to mark June 6 on your calendar and join fellow Broken Arrowans as the memorable history of the city is unveiled.
Blankenship graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has enjoyed a lifetime career in advertising. He started his own advertising business in 1993 and enjoys creating graphic art and writing. Hobbies include hunting, fishing and pencil drawings. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married over 50 years and are active in their church and community. He has been a contributing writer for Value News/Values Magazine since 2005.