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In old English law, a gore was a small, narrow strip of land. In modern land law and surveying, a gore is a strip of land, usually triangular in shape, as might be left between surveys that do not close. In some northeastern U.S. states (mainly northern New England), a gore (sometimes a grant or purchase) is an unincorporated area of a county that is not part of any town and has limited self-government (if any, as many are uninhabited or nearly so).
Historically, gores were generally the result of errors when the land was first surveyed and the towns laid out. A gore would lie in an area between two (supposedly abutting) towns but would technically be in neither. Surrounding towns have been known to absorb a gore—for example, the gore between Tunbridge, Vermont, and Royalton, Vermont, was eventually incorporated into Tunbridge. Some gores have become towns in their own right, such as Stannard, Vermont.
Different states have different laws governing gores and other unincorporated territories. In Maine, all unincorporated territories (whether townships, gores, plantations, or grants) are governed directly by the Land Use Planning Commission, a state agency. They do not, therefore, enjoy the rights and obligations of direct local self-governance of a corporate Maine municipality, via local elections of town boards of selectmen, and town meetings that debate and approve the town budget and expenditures. Occasionally, a town will choose to become unincorporated after having been an incorporated town; a recent example of this is the former town of Madrid, Maine.
Some of New England's gores:
|Gore||County||2000 Population||Area in km² (mi²)|
|||Averys Gore, Vermont||Essex County, Vermont||0||45.6 (17.6)|
|||Buels Gore, Vermont||Chittenden County, Vermont||12||13.1 (5.1)|
|||Warner's Grant, Vermont||Essex County, Vermont||0||8.2 (3.2)|
|||Warren's Gore, Vermont||Essex County, Vermont||10||30.0 (11.6)|
|||Hibberts Gore, Maine||Lincoln County, Maine||1||2.0 (0.77)|
|*||Blake Gore, Maine||Somerset County, Maine||0||<n/a>|
|*||Coburn Gore, Maine||Franklin County, Maine||0||<n/a>|
|*||Gorham Gore, Maine||Franklin County, Maine||0||<n/a>|
|*||Massachusetts Gore, Maine||Franklin County, Maine||0||<n/a>|
|*||Misery Gore, Maine||Somerset County, Maine||0||<n/a>|
|*||Veazie Gore, Maine||Penobscot County, Maine||0||<n/a>|
- H.C. Black, Black's Law Dictionary (Rev. 4th Ed.), West Publishing Co., St. Paul, 1968, p. 824.
- Maine Land Use Planning Commission