This town grew rapidly when construction on the Coulee Dam began and became known as “The Gateway City to the Grand Coulee Dam,” serving as the construction headquarters for a period of time. It was also a shipping point for wheat; nearly 750,000 bushels were handled each year through its warehouses.
This area is adapted to dry wheat farming and sheep and cattle grazing. Water is supplied here by deep wells, manned by tall windmills which are turned by the prevailing westerly winds. The dry climate and sandy soil are most favorable to the raising of hard Bluestem wheat—a crop that brings a high price in western markets.
A large silo to the immediate north of town and wheat fields surrounding town indicates the area is still active in wheat production. One- to three-story brick buildings with interesting classical details, ca. 1930s, line Almira’s main commercial street (N. Third Street) In 1933 Almira’s Town Hall building (SW corner of Third and Elm Streets) became the headquarters for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Grand Coulee Dam project. During construction, a shuttle bus provided transportation from headquarters to the dam for the engineers and other workers who lived here. After construction, businesses that were not involved in local agriculture closed down, returning the town to its pre-dam/boom-time days. A one room, adobe jail on Elm Street is unique, although it looks to be mainly used for storage nowadays.
When founded in 1889, the place was named Davisine, for Charles C. Davis, owner of the site and first merchant in the area. He later sold part of his interest to two men, Rodgers and Reed, who wanted to establish a town site. When Mrs. Davis signed a deed, the two purchasers noticed that her given name was Almira, and christened the new town Almira. A second story goes that Mrs. Davis’ name was chosen by the chief engineer of Northern Pacific Railway when Mr. Davis sold him a right-of-way across the property.