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Welcome to Alma, WI
The city of Alma is located on the banks of the Mississippi River in western Wisconsin, just 90 miles south of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Originally named “Twelve Mile Bluff” for its unique landscape of 500-ft. limestone bluffs, the area of Alma was first settled by Swiss immigrants, who arrived in 1848 with the purpose of cutting wood for steamboat fuel. These first residents established Main (First) Street and Second (Upper) Street from an Indian trail along the river, and as the settlement grew into the 20th century, shorter streets were added, plus ten distinctive concrete pedestrian stairways that set Alma apart from other cities. It is uncertain why the name “Alma” was chosen to replace “Twelve Mile Bluff”; one theory is that it was derived from the battle of 1854 on the Alma River in Russia.
Throughout the years, Alma has remained a quiet, historic river town—a true retreat from nearby urban centers. Home to just under 1,000 people, the city boasts a comfortable, laid back atmosphere where neighbors actually know each other and a majority of the businesses and restaurants are owned by locals. Residents of Alma enjoy shopping, dining, antique hunting, and a variety of shows at the Big River Theatre; but most of all, Alma residents enjoy closeness with nature through hunting and fishing on the river, hiking the trail from Second Street to Buena Vista Park, and observing the day to day natural wonders of the beautiful upper Mississippi. Alma is a great place to spot bald eagles as they swoop down to the river for food, and in mid-October, birdwatchers flock from all over the country to observe the thousands of Tundra Swans that stop there to rest and feed on their way to the East Coast. Whether it’s summer or winter, Alma offers stunning natural beauty and is the perfect playground for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages.