Gorham, Kansas

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Gorham is a city in Russell County, Kansas, United States.[3] The population was 360 at the 2000 census.[1]



Beaten to the settlement of Wilson, Kansas by Bohemian colonists, German settlers from Philadelphia and Lancaster, Pennsylvania established a community on the Kansas Pacific Railway at the future site of Gorham in April 1872.[4] Elijah Dodge Gorham, a settler from Illinois, gave the town its name when he platted it in 1879. Seeking to create a local trading center, he formally established the town in July 1886, gave land for a Catholic Church and cemetery, and started several businesses including a general store, grain elevator, post office, lumberyard, and a coal yard. Additional grain elevators and a stockyard subsequently opened, establishing Gorham as a farming community.

The discovery of oil deposits in Russell County transformed the local economy in the 1920s. Companies including Texaco, Stanolind, and Sohio started operations in the area, stimulating Gorham's growth. A brick school building was built in 1922 followed by a second building in 1930 and another in 1949.[5] Gorham incorporated as a city in 1941.[6] By 1944, it had a diverse business community, two oil field production companies, and public schools. From the 1950s to the early 1980s, the city expanded further through the development of residential additions.

Mandated by state law, Gorham's public schools joined Russell County Schools (USD 407) in 1967. Subsequent consolidation led to the closure of Gorham High School in 1984 and Gorham Elementary School in 1997.[5]


Gorham is located at 38°52′49″N 99°01′22″W / 38.880366°N 99.022682°W / 38.880366; -99.022682 (38.880366, -99.022682)[7] at an elevation of 1,913 feet (583 m).[2] It lies in the Smoky Hills region of the Great Plains approximately 9 miles (15 km) north of the Smoky Hill River and 11 miles (17 km) south of the Saline River.[3][8] Gorham is in north-central Kansas approximately 121 miles (196 km) northwest of Wichita and 237 miles (381 km) west of Kansas City.[9] Located 1.2 miles (2 km) north of Interstate 70, it is roughly 9 miles (14 km) west of Russell, the county seat.[8]

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