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Alma, Michigan
—  City  —
Location of Alma, Michigan
Coordinates: 43°22′42″N 84°39′34″W / 43.37833°N 84.65944°W / 43.37833; -84.65944
Country United States
State Michigan
County Gratiot
 - Total 5.5 sq mi (14.2 km2)
 - Land 5.4 sq mi (13.9 km2)
 - Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Elevation 735 ft (224 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 9,275
 Density 1,729.7/sq mi (667.8/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 48801-48802
Area code(s) 989
FIPS code 26-01540[1]
GNIS feature ID 0620002[2]

Alma is the largest city in Gratiot County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 9,275 at the 2000 census. It was incorporated as the Village of Alma in 1872 and became a city in 1905.

Alma's claims to fame include the annual Highland Festival which brings members of Scottish clans and interested onlookers together for a weekend of Highland dancing, bagpipes, kilts, and camaraderie. The Highland Festival is held each year over Memorial Day weekend. Alma College, a small liberal-arts institution of approximately 1,300 students, is located in town and focuses on multidisciplinary learning in a residential setting.

Alma is the birthplace of both the world-renowned modernist architect Ralph Rapson and writer/composer/lyricist Dan Goggin (Nunsense).



According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.5 square miles (14.1 km²), of which, 5.4 square miles (13.9 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (1.83%) is water.


Alma was founded in 1853 by Ralph Ely. Perhaps first known for the Alma Springs Sanitarium, built and promoted in the 1880s by millionaire lumberman and capitalist Ammi Willard Wright, it achieved its greatest prominence nationally in the 1910s and 1920s as home of the Republic Motor Truck Company, briefly the largest exclusive truck manufacturer in the world.[3]


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 9,275 people, 3,220 households, and 2,022 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,729.7 per square mile (668.1/km²). There were 3,476 housing units at an average density of 648.2/sq mi (250.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.75% White, 0.53% African American, 0.52% Native American, 0.75% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 2.57% from other races, and 1.88% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.21% of the population.

There were 3,220 households out of which 32.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.6% were married couples living together, 13.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.2% were non-families. 30.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.98.

A sign welcoming visitors to "Scotland, USA" (Alma, Michigan)

In the city the population was spread out with 21.9% under the age of 18, 20.4% from 18 to 24, 23.0% from 25 to 44, 17.8% from 45 to 64, and 16.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 81.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,536, and the median income for a family was $44,229. Males had a median income of $35,013 versus $20,655 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,218. About 8.5% of families and 11.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.1% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.


Local media

The Morning Sun newspaper, based in Mt. Pleasant, serves the Alma area as its daily newspaper. Alma is home to three commercial radio stations. WQBX (104.9 FM) plays satellite-fed hot adult contemporary music, and sister station WFYC (1280 AM) is a ESPN Radio affiliate.

Standalone AM WMLM (1520 AM), licensed to nearby St. Louis, plays classic country music, also satellite-fed. Other local broadcasters include Alma College's student-run radio station, WQAC (90.9 FM), and WBSQ-LP (105.9 FM), an oldies station based in St. Louis.

The Alma area is located about midway between Saginaw and Grand Rapids, and thus also receives TV and radio signals from both cities, as well as Mt. Pleasant and Lansing.

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ McMacken, David, and Louise Davenport (1976). "Down Twelve Decades: A Pictorial History of Alma, Michigan", Alma Bicentennial Committee, Alma, Michigan.

External links

Coordinates: 43°22′44″N 84°39′35″W / 43.37889°N 84.65972°W / 43.37889; -84.65972



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