A Brief History Moment… West Alexandria
Settlers began to move into the valley of Twin Creek as early as 1798. By the time both Twin Township (1808) and Lanier Township (1811) were formed, the area had started to become populated with some of Preble Counties’ oldest and more prominent names. Along the banks of the Twin Creek, farmers found the ground to be fertile and it proved to be good land for farming. It was here where the two townships met that William Alexander and Henry Keisling laid out a plan for forty empty lots.
In 1818, Henry Keisling offered 20 lots on the Twin Twp. side of Old Columbia Pike (US 35) and William Alexander added an additional 20 lots on the Lanier Twp. side and West Alexandria found its beginnings. Ignatius Garber would make the first purchase on July 2, 1820, when he bought lot #17. The completion of the state road from Dayton to Eaton in 1828 prompted the New Lexington post office to be relocated to West Alexandria.
West Alexandria was incorporated on March 14, 1836, and on the third Monday of April, a municipal government was formed. The village had grown to a population of just under 500 residents by 1871 and offered several businesses, three churches, and six doctors in town. J. E. Davis installed the town’s first telephone in 1881 and by 1896 both the railroad and traction line were established, bringing more growth to the community.
A week-long celebration would be held from Aug. 2-8 in 1936 in honor of the town’s Centennial celebration. Locals and visitors celebrated with parades, contests, dancing, food, and a midway, additionally, homes and businesses were painted and adorned with decorative window displays. In a town of 925 residents, it is estimated nearly 5,000 people closed out the events on the last day of the celebration.
As we look back at days gone by, locals and travelers passing through town described West Alexandria with its tastily built residences and well-kept lawns as having “a neat, attractive appearance with prosperity to be seen upon every hand.” Based on population and size, West Alexandria had become one of the wealthiest towns in the state. The people of West Alexandria took pride in their homes and their town and with the efforts of an entire town forty empty lots became a community.
25 years ago…
Wednesday, Aug. 12, 1998
The new rescue vehicle for the Eaton Fire Department is now in service. Eaton Fire Chief Rick Crowe said, “We want to do everything we can to save lives.” The new unit can be used for vehicle accidents, hazardous material incidents, and fire scenes. In addition to transporting personnel and equipment, the unit offers a versatile light system for nighttime scenes.
50 years ago…
Wednesday, Aug. 8, 1973
The Preble Shawnee Board of Education plans to have the fire-damaged West Elkton School Building ready for classes this September. While some portions of the school will remain closed a contract will be in place to immediately clean and redecorate the remainder of the building.
75 years ago…
Wednesday, Aug. 11, 1948
The Eaton semi-pro team lost the first game in the Central Ohio Playoffs. Eaton saw good pitching on the day, but hitting support was lacking in the 7-1 loss to Germantown. In a surprising upset, the Dayton Ol’ Fashions beat Camden 5-3. West Alexandria won at home over Middletown and Lewisburg was awarded the victory after a player on the Miamisburg squad was ruled ineligible.
100 years ago…
Wednesday, Aug. 8, 1923
Last Saturday night some party or parties entered the garage of Constable John Hoffman, wherein he keeps his machine, and took the front wheels therefrom. There is no clue to the marauders. The garage is located at the back of the courthouse and Sheriff Wherley’s car is also kept there.