Alma, Nebraska, is a small town situated in Harlan County in the southern part of the state. Over the years, the town has witnessed several significant historical events that have shaped the region's history. Here are seven notable historical events that have taken place near Alma, NE.
1. The Settling of Harlan County
One of the earliest significant events in the region was the settling of Harlan County. In 1869, the Republican River Valley was opened up for settlement after the construction of a bridge across the river at Alma. This led to the influx of settlers into the area, including Alma, which became a significant agricultural center.
2. The Alma Brewery Fire
On March 15, 1904, a massive fire destroyed the Alma brewery, which was one of the town's largest employers. The fire broke out in the boiler room and quickly spread to other parts of the brewery. Although the building was a total loss, no one was injured. The brewery was eventually rebuilt but closed its doors in 1913 due to the rise of prohibition.
3. Harlan County Dam Construction
In the 1940s, the United States Bureau of Reclamation began construction of the Harlan County Dam, one of the largest earthen dams in the world. The dam was built to provide flood control, irrigation, and hydroelectric power to the region. The project was a massive undertaking, employing hundreds of workers, including many local residents.
4. The Alma Bank Robbery
In 1962, a group of men robbed the Alma bank of over $100,000, making it one of the largest bank heists in Nebraska's history. The robbers were eventually caught and tried, and the stolen money was recovered. This event shocked the small town and raised concerns about security at rural banks.
5. The 1980 Tornado Outbreak
On May 5, 1980, a massive tornado outbreak struck several states, including Nebraska. In Harlan County, several tornadoes touched down, causing significant damage to homes, farms, and businesses. Alma was not directly hit, but many local residents remember the destruction and loss caused by the tornadoes.
6. The Eclipse of 2017
On August 21, 2017, Alma was in the path of totality for a total solar eclipse, a rare event that occurs when the moon passes in front of the sun, blocking its light completely. The event drew thousands of visitors to the area, bringing a significant economic boost to the town and region.
7. The COVID-19 Pandemic
In 2020, like the rest of the world, Alma was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The town and surrounding area saw a significant rise in cases, leading to school closures, business restrictions, and social distancing measures. The pandemic has had a profound impact on the community, with many residents adapting to new ways of life and work.
In conclusion, Alma, Nebraska, has witnessed many significant historical events over the years, from the settling of the region to the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Each of these events has helped shape the town and its residents, highlighting the town's resilience and adaptability. Today, Alma continues to be an important agricultural center and a welcoming community for visitors and residents alike.
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