How did Gresham get its name? You can thank Ben F. Rollins.
In 1884, Rollins built a general store in an area known as “Campground.” Thinking a post office would help with the business, Rollins wrote to Postmaster General Walter Q. Gresham.
We can’t say for certain whether Rollins suggested naming the area after Gresham to flatter the General into fulfilling his request, or if he named the area after Gresham as a thank-you for acquiring the post office. (But, apparently, other towns had the same idea; there are eight other cities in the U.S. named Gresham!)
Rollins’ general store and the post office were located at what is now the SE corner of N. Main Avenue and Powell.
He died in 1931 at 74 years old and is buried in the Gresham Pioneer Cemetery.
You can learn more about Rollins in our permanent exhibit “Gresham’s Timeline.”