A Brief History of Alma, Arkansas

Drug store in Alma ca. 1909. At the time, there was an opera house above the drugstore. Photo courtesy of Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Central Arkansas Library System.

Alma is a city in Crawford County, Arkansas. It is located within the Arkansas River Valley at the edge of the Ozark Mountains. Before Alma became a settlement, Armstead “Ira” Smoot bought the land from the government on August 3, 1836. It was used mainly as farmland until Colonel Mathias F. Locke bought it in 1872. Locke built his house and a cotton gin on ten acres next to W. W. Smith’s drugstore and Smoot’s cabin. Alma was originally known as Gum Town because of its gum trees, and timber was one of the early industries in the area. Stories vary on how the town was named. Some say it was named for the sweetheart of Sam Daugherty, a nearby postmaster. Another version says suggestions were drawn from a hat (Davis, 2016). The economy was largely agricultural until the introduction of the canning industry. Today, the city claims the title of “Spinach Capital of the World” (Census, 2010).


Davis, Debbie Walden, (2016, Nov. 7). Alma (Crawford County). Retrieved from encyclopediaofarkansas.net.

Wikipedia. (2019, Oct. 10). Alma, Arkansas. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org.

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