Benjamin Franklin Rollins is credited with bringing the first post office to Gresham (and in so doing, naming the town). In the mid-1880s Samuel Metzger and his step-son Ben Rollins built a General Goods store on the southeast corner of Main Avenue and Powell Valley Road. Constructed with logs and roughhewn planks, the building measured only 16 feet by 24 feet.
Looking to draw in more business, Ben Rollins, a one-armed storekeeper, wanted his store to also contain a post office. If residents were visiting the store more regularly to secure their mail, surely they would pick up an item or two they needed around the house. Ben penned a letter to then-Post Master General, Walter Q. Gresham, a former Colonel in the Union Army, offering a simple exchange – a post office for the name of the town.
Not long after, Ben Rollins got his post office and The Crossroads officially became Gresham. Rollins' business partner, James F. Roberts, was also one-armed, and he was named Gresham’s first postmaster.
According to Post Office Publications, Gresham briefly had a second post office under the name of Camp Ground which operated from May 19 to June 9, 1884. This post office was closed when postal officials in Washington D.C. realized that they had already approved another post office named Gresham at the same site on May 15th. Prior to the establishment of this first post office, town residents had to travel ten miles to Portland for newspapers and letters.
The first rural mail delivery service routes were established in Gresham in 1901 under the guidance of postmaster Iona McColl. They were horse and buggy routes of 23 and 27 miles. The carriers were E.L. Thorpe and George Preston who each had two horses so that one could rest on alternate days. City delivery service was instituted in 1947. Prior to that, residents collected their mail at the post office.
Officials in Portland saw a need for supplying fresh water to its residents. An elaborate water purification and delivery system was built through Gresham to transport water from the Bull Run Watershed to the residents of Portland and the surrounding areas in 1893. The first telephone line was installed in Gresham in 1894 and the first road to Gresham, Baseline Road, opened in 1895.