Alma is a city in Harlan County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 1,133 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Harlan County.
Alma was founded in the spring of 1871 by a group of Union Pacific railroad laborers originally from Cheyenne, Wyoming. Harlan County was created by the Nebraska Legislature on June 3, 1871, and Alma was made the county seat on July 3, 1871. A dispute among the original settlers led to a dissolution of the town, but it was re-organized in 1874.
Alma's status as county seat was challenged by residents of Orleans, but an 1884 Nebraska Supreme Court decision affirmed Alma's status as seat of Harlan County. Alma officially incorporated in July 1881. The town was named after a daughter of one of the early settlers.
On January 13, 1880, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad reached Alma, providing a significant boost for local commerce and industry. In 1887, the Kansas City and Omaha Railroad also reached Alma. Telephon