Obersteckholz is first mentioned in 1255 as Stechcholz.
Obersteckholz was the property of the Baron of Langenstein. In 1194, he founded St. Urban's Abbey and granted the village to the Abbey as part of its endowment. It was part of the Abbey's court of Langenthal until 1406 when it became part of the Bernese bailiwick of Wangen. Following the 1798 French invasion it became part of the district of Langenthal under the Helvetic Republic. In 1803, after the collapse of the Republic, it became part of the Aarwangen district. The village became an independent municipality in 1831. Until 1790 and again after 1975 Obersteckholz and Untersteckholz shared a single school district.
During the 18th and 19th century, small cottage industries such as linen weaving and straw plaiting began to supplement agriculture in the local economy. Today there are several small businesses in the village but about 71% of the working adults commute to jobs outside the municipality.