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History of Alexander City, Alabama

Alexander City, a community nestled in the heart of east central Alabama, has a rich and varied history. Captain Thomas Welch, a trader, explored the Okfuskee Trail through present day Tallapoosa County in 1698. The English afterwards established trading stations near Flint Hill, Young's Ferry and Kowaliga. The Battle of Horseshoe Bend assured the U.S. government control of Tallapoosa County in 1814 when Andrew Jackson defeated the Creek Indians. The Creeks ceded their territory in Tallapoosa County to the U.S. Government in 1832. Horseshoe Bend National Military Park came into existence in 1956. In 1837, James Young acquired 320 acres including a large portion of present day Alexander City. In 1872, the town was incorporated as Youngsville. Anticipating that the Savannah and Memphis Railway would soon arrive, the town was renamed in 1873 in honor of the railroad's president, Edward P. Alexander, and extended to cover the area within one-half mile in every direction of the public square. The inaugural visit from the railroad happened the following year. A revival on Herzfeld Hill resulted in the start of two of the community's earliest churches, First Baptist and First United Methodist. In 1889, B.L. Dean, the city mayor, encouraged the movement to build a courthouse in Alexander City, paid for entirely by public subscription. In 1900, the first cotton mill started its operation in the city. The fire in 1902 destroyed the entire downtown district, with losses totaling $400,000. Martin Dam was completed in 1926. The reservoir that it craeated, Lake Martin, was the largest man-made lake in the world at the time. In 1988, Alexander City State Junior College (established in 1965) and Nunnelley State Technical College were merged and became Central Alabama Community College. The city is served by Russell Medical Center.