Alexander City has a rich and varied history. Beginning with its Indian heritage and running through frontier roots, natural resources have always been important. That was amplified in 1926 when an Alabama Power project created the area's most recognizable natural asset -- Lake Martin. Before the lake was ever imagined, cotton played a major role in shaping the city, as it does today. Here are a few of the more important dates in the area's history.

1698 Captain Thomas Welch, a trader, marks out the Okfuskee Trail through Tallapoosa County. The English establish trading stations near Flint Hill, Young's Ferry and Kowaliga.
1814 The Battle of Horseshoe Bend secures U.S. government control of Tallapoosa County when Andrew Jackson defeats the Creek Indians in a decisive battle.
1832 The Creek Indian nation cedes its territory in Tallapoosa County to the U.S. Government.
1837 James Young acquires 320 acres, which comprise a large portion of present day southwest Alexander City, including Russell Corporation and much of the land along U.S. Highway 280.
1872 The town is incorporated as Youngsville, with corporate limits set one-half mile in every direction from the center of the public square.
1872 A revival on Herzfeld Hill, now Hillabee Street, spawns the first two congregations of the community, First Baptist and First United Methodist.
1873 The Savannah and Memphis Railway comes to Youngsville, brought by S & M president Edward P. Alexander. The town is renamed in his honor and boundaries are extended to one mile from the center of the public square.
1879 The first community school is organized and constructed with community funds.
1884 B.F.C. Russell moves his family, including his youngest son, Ben, to Alexander City.
1889 B.L. Dean, Alexander City mayor, spurs the movement to build a courthouse in Alexander City, paid for entirely by public subscription. Newspapers and a bottle of rum are put in the cornerstone and survive the 1902 fire.
1900 J.C. Maxwell and Reuben Herzfeld convince builders of a cotton mill to locate in Alexander City.

Twenty six year old Ben Russell begins what is today Russell Corporation. The first step was a single knitting mill manufacturing women's and children's underwear.

1902 "The Fire" destroys the entire downtown district, with losses totaling $400,000 in 1902 dollars. By today's standards, the loss would have been in the millions.
1907 T.C. Russell, Ben Russell's brother, is elected mayor for the first of 10 terms.
1919 Avondale Mills purchases Alexander City Cotton Mills and begins production in Alexander City.
1923 Alabama Power Company begins construction on Martin Dam at Cherokee Bluffs. By 1926 Martin Dam is completed and Lake Martin forms. At the time, Lake Martin is the largest man-made lake in the world.
1950 A new high school is built with community funds. After debating on many names including Benjamin Russell Vocational High School, the community chose Benjamin Russell High School
1956 Horseshoe Bend becomes a national military park, 57 years after the action is first proposed by Alexander City Outlook editor F.O. Horton and due in large part to the efforts of Judge C.J. Coley.
1965 Alexander City State Junior College opens in an old hospital on Lee Street with 442 students.
1988 Alexander City State Junior College and Nunnelley State Technical College in Childersburg were merged and became Central Alabama Community College.
2000 A time capsule was filled with local treasures and buried near Children's Harbor on Lake Martin in what is now called Time Capsule Park. The capsule is to be opened 100 years later.


City Links

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Links of Interest

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City of Alexander City | 4 Court Square | Alexander City, Alabama 35010 | 256.329.6700 | Copyright 2018