Home > PublicationsEncyclopedia >  Blackburn

BLACKBURN.

The incorporated town of Blackburn is sited in Pawnee County on Blackburn Road, between county roads E0440 and E0450. Approximately twelve miles east of the county seat of Pawnee, the community developed after the Cherokee Outlet land opening on September 16, 1893. Named for Kentucky Sen. Joseph C. S. Blackburn, a post office was established on December 15, 1893. Positioned on the south side and at a natural ford of the Arkansas River, a toll bridge, a wagon bridge, and a ferry at various times connected Blackburn, Oklahoma Territory (O.T.), with the Osage Nation to the north. During the territorial era before 1907 statehood, Blackburn was one of the "whiskey towns" in O.T. that bordered the "dry" Indian Territory. The town was incorporated on April 21, 1909.

Blackburn's economy has been primarily based on agriculture, with cotton and corn as the principal crops. Consequently, the community had a cotton gin, a flour mill, a livery stable, and several blacksmiths. After a severe drought in 1901 hundreds abandoned their farms. Those who remained formed an association and held an annual reunion, at least through the 1950s. Blackburn hosted the Pawnee County fair from 1903 to 1909. Although oil was discovered nearby, Blackburn never developed into an oil-boom town. Early newspapers included the Blackburn Globe, Blackburn Flash-Light, and Blackburn News. By 1909 the community boasted two banks, a public school, and three churches.

The town's growth was stunted because it was never connected to the larger world by a railroad or a state highway. At 1907 statehood Blackburn had 330 residents. In 1910 the population peaked at 335. From 1920 to 1940 the numbers dropped from 257 to 198. As residents moved away, the post office was closed on March 31, 1960, and the population reached a low of 88 in 1970. Between 1980 and 1990 the numbers remained steady at 114 and 110, respectively.

In 1984 Blackburn consisted of a combination gasoline station–sandwich shop and three churches. At the turn of the twenty-first century the town had 102 citizens and served as a "bedroom" community to 100 percent of the employed residents, who commuted to work in Pawnee and other job centers. The 2010 population was 108. The Blackburn Methodist Church (NR 84003398) was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Linda D. Wilson

See also: CHEROKEE OUTLET OPENING, SETTLEMENT PATTERNS

Bibliography

"Blackburn," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

Kenny A. Franks and Paul F. Lambert, Pawnee Pride: A History of Pawnee County (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Heritage Association, 1994).

Profiles of America, Vol. 2 (2d ed.; Millerton, N.Y.: Grey House Publishing, 2003).

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society. This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia and part or in whole.

Photo credits: All photographs presented in the published and online versions of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture are the property of the Oklahoma Historical Society and are held in the agency's Research Division Photograph Archives (unless otherwise stated).


Citation

The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Linda D. Wilson, "Blackburn," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed November 24, 2017).

Links of Interest


About the Encyclopedia | Terms of Use | Using the Encyclopedia