Newell sprang up from the construction of Orman Dam, the largest earthen reservoir in the world at that time. It is the center of the Irrigation project that began in 1904 and was established in 1910. The town of Newell received its name in honor of Frederick Haynes Newell, who at that time held the office of Chief Engineer of the United States Reclamation Service.
Newell is located it Butte County. The population was 603 at the 2010 census.