History: Almira was founded more than a hundred years ago as settlers came to claim the good farmland they had heard about. Charley and Almira Davis were among the first and his goal was to be a storekeeper, supplying those pioneers with the goods they needed. He established a post office in 1889 and named the town Davisine, but a few years later as the town was being platted, the name was changed to Almira.
People came to this area in response to ads by the railroad encouraging settlers as they told of the fertile land and bountiful water supply. Settlers came by the hundreds, hungry for a chance to actually own their own land and make a better life. The town was established and it began to flourish.
There were 17 rural one-room schools and eventually, a high school in town, as well as its own elementary school. As transportation became less of a problem and students no longer had to walk or ride horse back, the schools combined. Finally, in 1940, all the rural schools were consolidated into the district as we now know it. We may have a small school, but that doesn’t keep the local kids down. Between 85 to 90 percent of the local students continue their education in one way or another. Athletes compete with the best of them, with one athlete, 1987 AHS graduate Kari McKay, taking part in Olympic Trials in February 2000.
Before long, the town had all the necessities of life within the city limits, there was no need to go elsewhere for goods or services. What people needed was right here, and if it wasn’t they improvised. People were born, schooled, married, entertained, employed, died and buried without ever leaving town. Just because the town was small and a distance from the ‘city’ didn’t mean it was lacking in culture. Culture came to them with Chautauqua every summer. A big tent was set up for the duration and every day and evening, cultural events took place. Plays were performed on the stage upstairs in the Legion Hall where they also held dances and on occasion had roller-skating. Baseball was a big thing for Almirans as was the county fair and the Pioneer Picnic. Almirans were never at a loss as to how to keep busy.
The biggest days of Almira were in early 1933 when it became headquarters for the newest project of the Bureau of Reclamation – building a dam at Grand Coulee. The building that currently houses city hall was previously the headquarters for the Dam. When the construction bids were opened in Spokane, 50 private cars from Almira and the Almira float took part in the parade that followed. A shuttle bus ran from here to the dam, providing much needed transportation for the engineers and other workers who lived here.
Once the towns of the Dam area were established,the town lost that population and with the advent of a reliable automobile the boom days were over. People began traveling, and in that traveling, found the goods and services they needed elsewhere. Soon, many of the businesses closed down except for those directly involved in local agriculture. And in spite of low numbers that’s where Almira stands today. The businesses that are currently in Almira, are focused on farming. The school has consolidated one more time and is now Almira – Coulee / Hartline. The spirit that made Almira strong is still evident in the continuing dedication of its residents making it the best small town possible. Here you know your neighbors and your neighbors know you.
More information on history, geography and demographics can be found here.