Blackburn, OK

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City/Town: Blackburn
Location Class: Disappearing Town
Year Built: N/A
Year Abandoned: N/A
Status: AbandonedDisappearing Town
Photojournalist: Cody CooperJustin Tyler MooreBilly DixonDavid LindeJohnny Fletcher

For much more great history, visit the Official Blackburn Website

The incorporated town of Blackburn is located in Pawnee County on Blackburn Road, halfway 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. Due to a 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 by the fact that it was never connected 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. As of the census of 2000, there were 102 people, 41 households, and 25 families residing in the town.

One of those 25 families is the Denny family. When we came into town, the first place we stopped was “Denny’s Service Station”, where we were greeted by Mrs. Billye Denny. She grew up in Blackburn, and went to school in the school pictured below. She told us stories about the old main street, and the many businesses throughout the years. Her grandfathers home is also pictured below in the last group of images. Pictures 18 and 19 below are of the stained glass window pane designed by Billye’s daughter at Blackburn United Methodist Church which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Being strangers in a small town is often an experience that many feel indifferent about. However in Blackburn we were welcomed whole heartedly. Mrs. Billye Denny was ready to show us this very dynamic town and share it’s history with us. Blackburn’s tale is one of boom and bust. Yet, there are people who still love this hidden treasure, and we were lucky enough to share it with them. Blackburn is a town filled with people who are determined to hold on to the dreams of the founders. People who dreamed to create a place of wealth and prosperity. These same dreams live on in the spirit of the residents of the town of Blackburn.

Parts Taken from Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture – Blackburn

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Paige
Paige
5 years ago

I grew up their in the 90's & I wouldn't trade it for anything! By the way billy joe makes a mean sandwich! Being a kid in this town was awesome everyone knew everyone and it was so safe I rode my bike & played all over the town with all the other kids. .the old bridge was my get away, oh how I miss that pillar id climb down on it and watch the water flow past, it was the definition of serene.

Clinton Carter
Clinton Carter
5 years ago

My family is from Blackburn. Anyone know: Elmer (Cat) Hendrix, Goldie Tucker Hendrix, Ross Hendrix, Beverly Hendrix, Jerry Tucker, Contact me: clintoncarter@charter.net

My great grandmother had a house in Blackburn along the river. I visited the ruins ~ 30 years ago and saw the very wood burning stove she used to cook family meals on Sunday after church. Anyway, don't know much but would like to learn anything more I can.

Tom
Tom
5 years ago

Great article. I grew up in the 60's in area and remember the town well. McClary's store and post office, Fred Upshaw's gas station and Ruby Gerwell's store were Places I remember. You had a photo of an old Pepsi-Cola box looks like the one at Fred's station. I can almost fee the cold water as I pull out a Dr. Pepper.

Howard Foust
Howard Foust
6 years ago

I went to church there sometimes,went 1 yr. of high school there. nothing but good memories. howard foust

focalpointfireplaces
8 years ago

Blackburn is a large town in Lancashire, England. It lies to the north of the West Pennine Moors on the southern edge of the Ribble Valley,

Richelle Jeffers
Richelle Jeffers
8 years ago

My great-great grandfather and g-g grandmother settled in Blackburn sometime in the turn of the century – – I have a postcard my g grandmother sent to her dad postmarked 1907 – -and another postmarked 1911. They were the Herringtons. I found the grave of my g-g grandmother Eliza Jane Herrington in the Blackburn cemetery. They were originally from Kentucky. G-g granddad was a Confederate veteran. He moved to Inola to live with his daughter and husband sometime in 1912-1913 (?) in Inola That part of the history is pretty fuzzy – – why he left and exactly what year

ellen blum
ellen blum
Reply to  Richelle Jeffers
5 years ago

hey richelle

i friended you just now on Facebook. my name is ellen MARIE blum. my mother's half brother was william monroe. his momma, Leona Messenger Monroe died young and her sister Mildred, who married Clarence Jeffers – helped raise "uncle billy" whom i never got to meet.
Dying to hear what you know about the whole family drama from w-a-a-ay back. My mom-Billy's little sister–is alive (79) and she has such fond memories of him. would love to speak to you. 972 567 9804 or mulbe@aol.com
I WOULD greatly appreciate it.

Marilyn Pinkstaff
8 years ago

New Mayor of the town of Blackburn is Gary McClary as of April 12, 2012. The other two Town Trustees are Vickie Denny and Mike Caughlin. Town meetings are held on the second Thursday of the month at 7:30 in the Schoolhouse. Phil Pinkstaff served as Mayor from October 2004-September 2011. Marilyn Pinkstaff served as Clerk-Treasurer from october 2004-August 2007.

Chess Millburn
Chess Millburn
Reply to  Marilyn Pinkstaff
8 years ago

My father, Rufus Millburn and his brother Rex Millburn(deceased) were born on the MIllburn farm not far from Blackburn. HIs mother's maidern name is Ethel Pinkstaff, so I know we are related. It's been several years since we brought Dad up to Oklahoma to visit his original home in Fairfax, and we stopped by the Blackburn cemetary to visit the graves. I have a cousin, Ronald Millburn that lives in Sand Springs. Dad is now 93, can't walk or see too well but his mind is sharp. Any history around these families would be of great interest.

kelly mcclary
kelly mcclary
8 years ago

grandmother owned the store there so many fun summers there

blackburn91
blackburn91
8 years ago

I HAVE LIVED IN THIS TOWN FOR A VERY LONG TIME, BUT THERE IS SECRETS THAT IS BURRIED IN THE TOWN OF BLACKBURN, PEOPLE HERE ISNT WHAT THEY CLAIM TO BE, DON'T GET ME WRONG I LOVE THIS TOWN AND I WOULDN'T LEAVE THIS TOWN BEHIND, I FEEL AND SEE THINGS THAT IS VERY UNEXPLAINABLE IN THIS TOWN, ALOT OF PEOPLE DOESN'T SEE WHAT I SEE AND HEAR, I HAVE BEEN STUDYING THE ROOTS OF BLACKBURN FOR A LONG TIME, I HAVE SEEN AND TALKED TO A OLD COWBOY SPIRIT, HE HAS TOLD ME STUFF THAT YOU COULDN'T IMAGINE, HIS… Read more »

Dan Day
Dan Day
Reply to  blackburn91
8 years ago

Does anyone in this town know of a family named Beaver, Lorenzo Beaver was married to a woman named Francis Scroggins , she was an aunt to my wifes grandmother who I believe was named after her Georgia Francis Scroggins , we were told she was born in a dugout in Blackburn in 1904 her family came from Arkansas to visit and she was born there.

H Blackburn
H Blackburn
Reply to  Dan Day
8 years ago

My name is Heather Blackburn, I lived in blackburn as a child, for 18 years or more. I am related to the Higgins, and Lowes in town. Lorenzo Beaver is a relative of mine. I have an account on ancestry.com. I am trying to trace family history. I have been unsure of the lorenzo's last name, thanks you for clearifing that.

My family tree is under Heather Blackburn my married name is Beaver, thought it was weird when I found Lorenzo Beaver.

Dan Day
Dan Day
Reply to  H Blackburn
8 years ago

The last time I checked the census records I believe that it stated that Lorenzo was from one of the southern counties of oklahoma , but I think they lived for a time in Barry County, Missouri, which is where the Scroggins family lived for awhile.

hbeaver
hbeaver
Reply to  Dan Day
8 years ago

after taking a closer look, My Lorenzo is a Bonfy, that was married to a woman named Alzada Beaver.

Denise Reed
Denise Reed
9 years ago

My father was raised part of his life by his Aunt Zora and his Uncle Joe. They lived in Blackburn and we visited many times when I was a small child. I do not remember their last names but do remember that they lived in a one room house with no amenities. If anyone knows of Zora and Joe, I would love any information you may have regarding this couple.

H Blackburn
H Blackburn
Reply to  Denise Reed
8 years ago

I am from Blackburn, I have a Zora and Joe in my family tree what where you Aunt and Uncles last name? My name is Heather Blackburn.

Tony Miller
9 years ago

I lived in Blackburn in the early 1990's and absolutely loved my time there. If I could I would move back to that area in a heartbeat. The small town is a great place to raise kids. Everyone there was like family and you were always welcome at anyone's house.

Michael Deyo
9 years ago

Good pics of blackburn…We have a famly farm there where we go fishing…Love it there

Anthony Metcalf
Anthony Metcalf
Reply to  Michael Deyo
9 years ago

Awesome place ! Many years of happy memories.

Kenneth Beckham
Kenneth Beckham
9 years ago

I was born in 1936 at a house across the street from the Methodist Church. I was told that I cut my teeth on the pew. Looking at the photos I see a spot where my family would have sat, and it looks like the pews have been refinished, but teeth marks still show through.
My strongest memories were of a dust storm that lasted more than a day amd a grasshopper plague that stripped all the vegitation.

Kenneth Beckham
Kenneth Beckham
Reply to  Kenneth Beckham
7 years ago

I returned to Blackburn on Sunday July 1, 2012 to attend the methodist church that I have such wonderful memories of. They say you can't go home, but I did. I was welcomed and even talked with at least one woman who remembered my family. Pretty good for having left in 1941.
It was sad to see so much of the town collapsing but a joy to see the church in such beautiful condition.
Keep up the good works.

Tery
Tery
10 years ago

Nice shots of Blackburn…love the photos of the church and the stained glass….peaceful and beautiful!!!—-take care–Tery

Billy Sr
Billy Sr
10 years ago

Great job guys, You need to get more in the videos Bill, And maybe even an interview or two Bill, ya'll keep up the GREAT work!

Tina McClary
Tina McClary
10 years ago

My grandparents ran the store and the post office. I spent a lot of my summers there.

Ryan Sperry
Ryan Sperry
10 years ago

My dad's side of the family grew up there. Not much has changed since I was visited there last.

Fiend
Fiend
10 years ago

Ha! Couldnt quite get a glimpse of my face in that video. Looks like my secret identity will remain a mystery lol. Wonderful little town, everyone there was so nice to us.

psychosaw13
psychosaw13
Reply to  Fiend
10 years ago

Yeah man you didnt get any face time! Billy got all the glory lol
If I was there they would of edited my ugly mug totaly outta the segment lol!
I guess I dont feel so bad now!
We still got our foot in the door guys! I'm excited for us!!!!!

Billy
Billy
Reply to  Fiend
10 years ago

Haha sorry, I guess I just look the part. Or the camera loves me. I dunno.

AbandonedOK Team
Reply to  Fiend
10 years ago

Billy you stole the show. did you make your 10 bucks?

billy
billy
Reply to  Fiend
10 years ago

Hah I didn't mean to! In fact. I am collecting tomorrow, I think. If you guys are nice.. I may even think of donating it. Buwaha.

blackburn91
blackburn91
Reply to  billy
8 years ago

why do you want to stay unkown it doesnt make since

Marilyn Pinkstaff
10 years ago

The Blackburn Website is: http://blackburnok.googlepages.com/home

Marilyn Pinkstaff
10 years ago

The Mayor's name is Phil Pinkstaff. He was born here, left in the 50s, returned in the 90s.

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