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Dorrance, Kansas
Location within Russell County and Kansas
Location within Russell County and Kansas
KDOT map of Russell County (legend)
Country United States
State Kansas
County Russell
Founded 1860s
Platted 1880
Incorporated 1910
Named for Oliver Dorrance
 • Total 0.34 sq mi (0.88 km2)
 • Land 0.34 sq mi (0.88 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
1,732 ft (528 m)
 • Total 146
 • Density 429/sq mi (165.9/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code 785
FIPS code 20-18325
GNIS ID 475332

Dorrance is a city in Russell County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2020 census, the population of the city was 146.


The Kansas Pacific Railway reached the site of Dorrance in June 1867. German, English, and Irish settlers followed shortly thereafter, forming a small community by 1870. In early 1872, they were joined by a colony of settlers from Pennsylvania. A prairie fire destroyed much of the community's business district in March 1879. The town of Dorrance was formally laid out in 1880, named for Oliver Dorrance, the railroad superintendent. The first post office opened in July 1883. Dorrance was incorporated in April 1910 and became a center of goods and services for eastern Russell County.


Dorrance is located at 38°50′49″N 98°35′18″W / 38.84694°N 98.58833°W / 38.84694; -98.58833 (38.846977, -98.588338) at an elevation of 1,729 feet (527 m). The city is located in north-central Kansas 102 miles (164 km) northwest of Wichita and 214 miles (344 km) west of Kansas City. Located 1/2 mile (0.8 km) south of Interstate 70, it is roughly 15 miles (24 km) east-southeast of Russell, the county seat.

Dorrance lies in the Smoky Hills region of the Great Plains approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) north of the Smoky Hill River and 6 miles (9.7 km) south of Wilson Lake.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.34 square miles (0.88 km2), all of it land.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Dorrance has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 281
1920 299 6.4%
1930 325 8.7%
1940 414 27.4%
1950 385 −7.0%
1960 331 −14.0%
1970 234 −29.3%
1980 220 −6.0%
1990 195 −11.4%
2000 205 5.1%
2010 185 −9.8%
2020 146 −21.1%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, there were 185 people, 85 households, and 51 families residing in the city. The population density was 616.7 people per square mile (238.1/km2). There were 113 housing units at an average density of 376.7 per square mile (125.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.8% White, 2.7% American Indian, and 0.5% Asian. Hispanics and Latinos of any race were 0.5% of the population.

There were 85 households, of which 25.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.8% were married couples living together, 2.4% had a male householder with no wife present, 5.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.0% were non-families. 36.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18, and the average family size was 2.84.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 21.6% under the age of 18, 4.5% from 18 to 24, 22.6% from 25 to 44, 28.6% from 45 to 64, and 22.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46.5 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.8 males age 18 and over.

The median income for a household in the city was $36,250, and the median income for a family was $36,000. Males had a median income of $43,438 versus $37,708 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,126. 8.3% of families and 20.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 36.8% of those under the age 18 and 0.0% of those age 65 or over.


Points of interest

The Dorrance Historical Society Museum, located downtown, exhibits artifacts from the community's history.

In popular culture and the arts

Dorrance was among the filming locations for the 1973 film Paper Moon.

Toss Back, the company which invented and first produced the "Snap Back" rim used in NBA basketball, was located in Dorrance.

In the Action Comics #822 story titled 'Repo Man; part one', Dorrance is designated as the location of Smallville, Superman's childhood home.



As of 2012, 64.8% of the population over the age of 16 was in the labor force. 0.0% was in the armed forces, and 64.8% was in the civilian labor force with 55.7% being employed and 9.0% unemployed. The composition, by occupation, of the employed civilian labor force was: 35.3% in management, business, science, and arts; 22.1% in sales and office occupations; 16.2% in service occupations; 13.2% in natural resources, construction, and maintenance; and 13.2% in production, transportation, and material moving. The three industries employing the largest percentages of the working civilian labor force were: agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and mining (27.9%); educational services, and health care and social assistance (26.5%); and manufacturing (14.7%).

The cost of living in Dorrance is relatively low; compared to a U.S. average of 100, the cost of living index for the community is 79.2. As of 2012, the median home value in the city was $51,300, and the median selected monthly owner cost was $656 for housing units with a mortgage and $304 for those without.


The community is served by Central Plains USD 112 public school district. Students attend schools in Wilson.

Dorrance schools were closed through school unification. The Dorrance Cardinals won the Kansas State High School boys class BB basketball championship in 1956.



Interstate 70 and U.S. Route 40 run concurrently east-west less than a mile north of the city. The old alignment of U.S. 40 runs southeast-northwest through Dorrance, intersecting 200th Boulevard, a paved county road formerly designated K-231, which runs north-south along the city's eastern edge.

Union Pacific Railroad operates a freight rail line, its Kansas Pacific (KP) line, through Dorrance. The line runs southeast-northwest through the community, parallel to the old alignment of U.S. 40.


Western Electric provides electricity to local residents. H & B Communications provides landline telephone service and offers cable television and internet access. Most residents use natural gas for heating fuel; service is provided by Midwest Energy, Inc.

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