One of Michigan’s major cities, Alma, deserves some recognition.
This is not meant to be an in-depth study, history, or scrutiny of Alma – just a nutshell version of a timeline (thanks to myalma.org).

1854
Ralph Ely arrives in this area near the Pine River with a small handful of people. After settling and building a sawmill, he declares the new village as “Elyton”.

1855
The first school is established; the teacher, Miss Rachel Kress, is only paid one dollar a week.

1856-1857
An unseasonable July frost kills many crops, thus resulting in the area being nicknamed "Starving Gratiot".

1858
The community is platted by James Gargett, who lists the new village as “Alma” (his daughter's name).

1867
Flour mill.

1868
Another saw mill.

1869
Woolen mill.

1870
Pere Marquette Railroad comes through, Alma to Saginaw.

1872
Alma incorporated as a village. Population: 425.

1873
Fire department.

1874
Alma’s first newspaper, the "Alma Enterprise”.

1877
Fire burns the Village Hall and all records.

1878
Fire burns the Village Hall and all records again.

1880
Woolen mill and flour mill burn down.

1881
Alma Roller Mills built

1885
Union School (later Washington School) built @ Court and Superior.

1886
Alma College founded.

1887
Alma College begins classes: 9 faculty members and 95 students.

1889
Arcada Hotel.

1900
Teddy Roosevelt comes to Alma to campaign for president.

1901
Another major fire. This time, the Tinker & Hannah factory burns down.
The first Alma golf course.

1905
The “Village of Alma” is now the “City of Alma”.

1908
Weekly garbage pickup.

1910
Libby, McNeil and Libby open canning plant.

1911
Streetlights are installed.

1912
Alma High School is built @ Downie and Pine.
Alma Manufacturing.

1915
First State Bank.

1916
St. Mary's Church.

1921
After constructing a one million gallon water reservoir, river water contaminates the water mains.

1922
City finally allows farmers to use the library.

1927
Two new schools: Stillwell Junior High and Wright Avenue School.

1928
City is overrun with rats, and a serious look at extermination begins.

1938
Rhodes Drug Store is renamed “Doud’s”.

1940
Police force is whittled down to 4 officers.

1942
Barn is bought and turned into a grocery store. During World War II, teachers become in charge of sugar rationing.

1943
Alma airport.

1945
Alma Products Company.

1951
Police Department gets newfangled two-way radio.

1952
Alma Sugar Company closed.

If you would like to see the entire, extensive Alma timeline with much more information, go here. But first, take a look at the photo gallery below and see some interesting old photos of Alma, going back over one hundred years…..

Vintage Alma: 1880s-1940s

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Michigan Salesmen, 1900s-1940s