Alma, Arkansas

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Alma, Arkansas
Southfork Street
Southfork Street
Motto: "Crossroads of America"
Alma is located in Arkansas
Location in Arkansas
Coordinates: 35°29′17″N 94°13′15″W / 35.48806°N 94.22083°W / 35.48806; -94.22083Coordinates: 35°29′17″N 94°13′15″W / 35.48806°N 94.22083°W / 35.48806; -94.22083
Country United States
State Arkansas
County Crawford
 • Total 5.6 sq mi (14.4 km2)
 • Land 5.4 sq mi (14.0 km2)
 • Water 0.2 sq mi (0.4 km2)
Elevation 433 ft (132 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 5,419
 • Density 1,004/sq mi (387.5/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 72921
Area code(s) 479
FIPS code 05-00970
GNIS feature ID 0076164

Alma is a city in Crawford County located in the western part of U.S. state of Arkansas, along Interstate 40 about 13 miles (21 km) from the Oklahoma border. As of the 2010 Census, Alma's population was 5,419.[1] It is the sixth largest city in the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area.[2] Alma was incorporated in 1874.


Alma is located in south-central Crawford County at 35°29′17″N 94°13′15″W / 35.48806°N 94.22083°W / 35.48806; -94.22083 (35.488013, -94.220796).[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.6 square miles (14.4 km2), of which 5.4 square miles (14.0 km2) is land and 0.15 square miles (0.4 km2), or 3.06%, is water.[1]

Alma has no airport, and the train station, which fell into a state of dilapidation, was torn down in the early 1970s. Much of its commerce derives from interstate highway traffic, as Interstates 40 and 49 (previously 540), as well as U.S. Routes 64 and 71, pass through the city.

The city gets its water supply from Alma Lake, which is perched above the city on the northeast, held back by a tall earthen dam that blocks Little Frog Bayou. Alma Lake is the reservoir that supplies the city's tap water. Alma sits along the border between the Boston Mountains and the Arkansas River Valley, so while most of the city lies on flat land, immediately to the north is scenic hill country. Alma is surrounded by several rural towns, including Rudy to the north, Dyer and Mulberry to the east, and Kibler to the southwest.


As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 4,160 people, 1,560 households, and 1,168 families residing in the city. The population density was 865.4 people per square mile (333.9/km²). There were 1,688 housing units at an average density of 351.1 per square mile (135.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.66% White, 1.71% Black or African American, 1.56% Native American, 0.10% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 0.75% from other races, and 1.11% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.70% of the population.

There were 1,560 households out of which 42.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.1% were married couples living together, 14.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.1% were non-families. 22.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the city the population was spread out with 32.1% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 28.9% from 25 to 44, 18.6% from 45 to 64, and 10.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 90.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,906, and the median income for a family was $34,068. Males had a median income of $33,235 versus $17,014 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,227. 11.9% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.7% of those under the age of 18 and 25.4% of those ages 65 or older.


In his book Washington Goes to War, David Brinkley described Alma's participation in the World War II effort:

In the town of Alma, Arkansas (population 776), one-fourth of the girls in the 1944 high school graduating class signed up to leave for Washington, and several of their teachers cast aside their low-paying jobs and went with them, all of them climbing aboard a Pullman car for their first train ride, looking for more money and excitement than they had any reasonable expectation of finding in Alma.[5]


Public education for elementary and secondary school students is provided by the Alma School District. The four schools in the district include Alma Primary School, Alma Intermediate School, Alma Middle School and Alma High School.[6]

Spinach Capital of the World[edit]

Around 1987, Alma called itself the "Spinach Capital of the World" because the Allen Canning Company based in Alma canned more than half of all the spinach canned in the U.S., about sixty million pounds a year.[7] The town has had various statues of the cartoon character Popeye, because of his connection to canned spinach; the most recent one was erected in 2007. Cast in bronze, it sits atop a fountain holding a can of spinach. It is the centerpiece of Popeye Park.[8]

Crystal City, Texas, also calls itself the "Spinach Capital of the World", and it too has a Popeye statue in the downtown.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Alma city, Arkansas". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved June 18, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): All places within Fort Smith, AR-OK Metro Area". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved June 18, 2014. 
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ Brinkley, David (1988). Washington goes to war. New York: A.A. Knopf : Distributed by Random House. ISBN 0394510259. 
  6. ^ "Alma School District". Alma School District. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Alma, Spinach Capital of the World". Arkansas Roadside Travelouge. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Popeye Statue - 2007 Model". Roadside America. Retrieved December 12, 2012. 

External links[edit]