Alpena was first platted in September, 1883 by C.H. Prior and named for the hometown of the railroad superintendent. The decade between 1900-1910 was a period of tremendous growth and development. The population grew to 576 by 1920.
During the period of 1930-1950 the Alpena community continued to work together to improve the community in spite of drought, dust storms, grasshoppers, crop failures, low farm prices, and World War II.
For 20 years Alpena was the only town in Jerauld County, to have a railroad connection with other sections of the state. For several years Alpena also provided the only market in Jerauld County for farmers to sell grain and the only doctor in the county.
Area residents have continued to support local businesses and the school over the years. In 1966 a new gym was built by the Commercial Club, financed by a number of fund raising activities. Alpena School closed, the gym is used as a community center.
By 1980 the population had decreased to 250 but has remained stable since then.
Area residents continue to support and improve the facilities and businesses of the community. They have found that anything can be accomplished when working for a common goal.