Blackwell is on State Highway 70, Farm Road 1170, and the Santa Fe tracks three miles northwest of Oak Creek Reservoir in Nolan and Coke counties. The community was originally called James or Jamestown when the plat was filed in 1906, but it was renamed for an Orient Railroad stockholder when the railroad was built through later that year. A post office was granted to the community in March 1907. The town developed as a trading center for portions of Nolan, Coke, and Taylor counties. Its first school opened in 1907, and in 1929 the Blackwell Rural Consolidated High School was organized. Churches at the community included Methodist, Baptist, and Church of Christ, established in 1903, 1909, and 1928 respectively. In 1945 the town reported a population of 500 and thirteen businesses. In 1980 its population was 286 and in 1990, 339. In 2000 the population was 360.