Selma, Kansas – Extinct in Anderson County

Railroad sign in the extinct town of Selma, Kansas.

Railroad sign in the extinct town of Selma, Kansas.

Selma was established in Anderson County at the junction of the Kansas, Nebraska, and Dakota and the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railways in 1887. As it no longer has a post office, it is officially an extinct town today.

The town initially had two names, with the Kansas, Nebraska, and Dakota Railroad naming their station Trilby and the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad named theirs Selma. Selma was surveyed and platted in the spring of 1887, and Selma became the permanent name for the town. A post office was established on August 12, 1887, and the town depot was built the same year. The first store building was a general merchandise store built by Francis Irwin. Rufus E. Camp and S.A. Thorne also managed stores.

Methodist Church in Selma, Kansas.

Methodist Church in Selma, Kansas.

J. I. Canady operated a blacksmith shop and later a garage and shop. Dr. N.F. Jackson was the first physician in Selma. In later years, he moved his office to Kincaid. There was a good drug store and a lumber yard in town.

At one time, Selma had a one-room elementary school, Christian and Methodist churches, a blacksmith shop, a hotel, a general store, a drug store, a lumber yard, a service station, a physician, other small businesses, and 4-H club and church organizations. The town had two newspapers in its history, The Telephone, published April 1895-March 1896, and The Selma News-Herald from 1965 to 1968.

S.A. Thorne’s store burned in 1904.

In 1910, it had a hotel, general store, blacksmith shop, telegraph and express offices, a money order post office with one rural route, and a population of 60.

In 1919, W.A. Smethers erected a building with an implement dealership.

Old Selma School in Anderson County, Kanss.

Old Selma School

In 1921, a Craftsman/Bungalow-style school was built.

The Kansas, Nebraska, and Dakota Railroad discontinued its operations in 1934. The Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad maintained its depot until the 1940s. Selma was once a livestock loading point on the Katy’s Kansas City to Parsons line, which was purchased by the Union Pacific in 1988. The line is still active today.

Selma’s post office closed on January 31, 1956.

The school was closed and consolidated with the elementary school in Kincaid in 1964. Vacant today, it is located on Wabaunsee Road.

The Methodist Church remained the central point for the community until 2001 when the declining number of parishioners forced a consolidation of the Selma church with its counterpart in nearby Kincaid. The consolidated congregation built a new church in Kincaid, and with no need for separate facilities, the original church buildings in each community were torn down.

Today, only a handful of people live in Selma.

Selma is located 13 miles southeast of Garnett.

© Kathy Alexander/Legends of Kansas, updated December 2023.

Also See:

Anderson County, Kansas

Anderson County Photo Gallery

Extinct Towns of Anderson County

Kansas Counties

Kansas Destinations


Anderson County History
Blackmar, Frank W.; Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Vol I; Standard Publishing Company, Chicago, IL 1912.
Kansas Post Office History