A SHORT HISTORY OF WEST ALEXANDRIA
By Mrs. Audrey Gilbert
Although the village of West Alexandria was not incorporated until 1836, there were log cabins here by 1818. They were built at the top of a slope that descended to Twin Creek on the east. It is from this creek that the area is called the Twin Valley.
William Kesling owned the land on the north side of the Cumberland Road and in 1818, William Alexander purchased the land on the south side. Kesling was more interested in farming while Alexander wanted to start a settlement. Each man set off twenty lots on their side of the road and the first lot was sold in 1820.
Village offices are located in the Town Hall once called the Community Hall. This building has served many purposes. The basement has been the site of banquets, skating rink, dances, shooting range, jail, and fire department. Presently the Lions Club meets in the large basement room and schedules any other activities for the area. The main floor was used for plays, a basketball court, theater and now houses the library and Archive. For a time the firemen and then police utilized the stage area but now each have their own buildings.
The first church in town was the Lutheran/Presbyterian (later German Reformed and now United Church of Christ). Later the German Reformed built a church of their own. The Progressive (First) Brethren church moved to town in 1888, the Church of the Brethren in 1934. Since then other churches added are the First Baptist, Pentecostal and Community Christian.
The local churches have formed a group, West Alexandria Churches Organized for Community Action. They have several community services each year. The local Food Bank is located in the basement of the United Church of Christ.
In 1817, the first burial was made in the town cemetery, located just west of the Lutheran Church. Jacob Parker added land behind the church and Jacob Hell added land south of the old cemetery. The cemetery is no longer in use and part of it is now Peace Park.
Just west of the old cemetery was the first school. A larger one was built on East Second Street, and then in 1875 the first school was built on the campus on North Main Street. This was demolished and a larger school built in 1910. In 1995, a new school was erected on a large campus and is named Twin Valley Community School, better known as Twin Valley South.
A fire department was begun in 1900 and at one time had the distinction of having the highest rating for a volunteer group in the State of Ohio. In July 1977, an emergency squad was begun and now they have two ambulances and a full time chief.
In 1886, the railroad came to town. It gave people easier access north and south and was a boon to merchants. It was discontinued and the tracks removed in 1982. The interurban began in 1896 and ran from Dayton to Richmond. Anyone working for the traction company was to live in the village because their maintenance buildings were here. This led to a great deal of home building about 1900-1904. The traction went out of service in 1936.
The Twin Valley Times newspaper began in 1888. About ten years later it was sold and became the Twin Valley Echo. The Echo was a victim of the depression but a few months later, the Twin Valley News began and is still being issued each week.
Artesian wells supplied water for the new water works in 1898. The sewer system was added in 1937 and the "new" water tower was erected in 1948.
The post office serves three rural mail routes along with its village door-to-door delivery, one of the first villages to have that service.
In October 1953, a solicitation drive made possible the building of a swimming pool without any outside monetary aid. For many years a Jamboree was held to pay off the debt. Recently the Jamboree has been reinstituted for the pool. Also in October of each year, the Oktoberfest takes over Peace Park for a weekend.
Each year before Christmas, there is "Christmas in the Village." Businesses hold open houses with refreshments, give door prizes, decorate and have special sales. The Town Hall is open with specially decorated trees, craft sales and more. At the edge of Peace Park is Santa Villa which is open two weekends in December with
Santa giving donated gifts to young children. Peace Park is also decorated for various seasons of the year.
The village has organizations dedicated to making the area a better place to live, Alpha Kappa Sorority, Coterie Club, Kiwanis and Lions. The James Ryan Post of the American Legion and their auxiliary are also very active. The village has a Masonic Lodge and Eastern Star.
Two buildings in the village are on the National Register. The George Unger home and the old hotel.
There are a number of factories in town, Dayton Chemical, housed in the old traction buildings, has evolved into Rohm & Hass. Rexarc, International began as Sight Feed Generator, Carlisle Engineering, Hardin Industries and Cleary Machine Shop.
At present the village is home to an air conditioning business; auction house; auto repair; bakery; two banks, barber; two beauty shops; building repair; carpet shop; dance studio; two doctors; flower shop; funeral home; furniture restorer; gift shop; two insurance agencies; Laundromat; lumber yard; newspaper; pharmacy; two pizza parlors, one also a carry out; restaurant known county wide for its good food; two service stations/carry outs; Tea Room which has been featured in a book of 99 Ohio Team Rooms.
West Alexandria Community Park
SMITH STREET PARK
LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
Twin Valley South High School is a public coed school in West Alexandria, Ohio. It has 262 students in grades 9-12. According to state standards, 92% of students at this school are considered proficient in math and/or reading.
West Alexandria is a village in Preble County, Ohio, United States.
The population was 1,340 at the 2010 census.
Area: 430 acres
Zip code: 45381
Population: 1,355 (2013)
Area code: 937