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Founded as a post office on May 9, 1879, California was also called Bell Town after Edwin J. Bell, the founder. It was his claim that became the site for the new town. Residents also called it Lane Center when it was a good option for the county seat. By March 1880, California had a couple of general stores, a livery barn, and the California House.
The town site was surveyed in April 1880, and Captain P. W. Hey gave it a new name, Gould City. The post office remained with the name of California. Because of the lack of business in town due to the low profits, if any, of the surrounding farmers, the two general stores had closed by March 1882. Mr. Bell sold his claim which included the platted land. This pretty much decided the fate of the town which lasted all of three years.
The ethnicity of its settlers is unknown.
"A Historical Record of Lane County, Founded June 3, 1886." Dighton, KS: Lane County Historical Society, 1961.
Stanley, Ellen May. "Early Lane County History: 12,000 B.C.-A.D. 1884". Newton, KS: Mennonite Press, 1993.
Stanley, Ellen May. "Early Lane County Development". Newton, KS: Mennonite Press, 1999.
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