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The city of Alma, Nebraska was founded in 1871 by a group of laborers with the Union Pacific Railroad, becoming the county seat of Harlan County that same year. Due to a dispute between the original settlers, who had come from Cheyenne, Wyoming, the town was dissolved, but it was reorganized in 1874, and incorporated in 1881, named for the daughter of N.P. Cook, one of its early settlers. In 1880, the Burlington Railroad reached the town, which boosted its population, and the Kansas City and Omaha Railroad connected with Alma in 1887. The Harlan County Reservoir, also known as Harlan County Lake, and now a recreation destination, was created in 1952 by the damming of the Republican River. Alma is situated near the Kansas border, east of Orleans.



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