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Situated in the central-southern part of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, near the Wisconsin border, the small village of Alpha is in, and surrounded by Mastodon Township, in southern Iron County.

County Road 424 (Main Street) is the chief route through the village, although the Tobin-Alpha Road (7th Avenue) leads north from the village, and the Mastodon Road (8th Avenue) leads south. Crystal Falls is 5.1 miles to the northeast, Iron River is 16.9 miles west, and Iron Mountain is 27.7 miles southeast of the village.

The village began as an iron mining community. At various dates in its history, there were dozens of mines operating in the Alpha area, operated by Balkan Mining Company, Corrigan McKinney & Company, Corrigan McKinney Steel Company, Fortune Lake Mining Company, G.S. Gustafson, Inland Steel Company, M.A. Hanna and Republic Steel, Munro Company, North Range Mining Company, Oglebay Norton, Peninsula Mining Company, Pickands Mather & Company, Republic Steel Company, and Verona Mining Company.

The Chicago & Northwestern Railroad extended its tracks to the region and established a station there, in order to transport the iron to market. At that time, the region was then Crystal Falls Township, which was in Marquette County until Iron County was organized in 1885.

Alfred Breitung opened the Mastodon Mine near the current location of Alpha in 1881, and a post office was established for the settlement that grew up around the mine on October 1, 1883. The post office was named Mastodon, for the mine, and Herbert Hughitt was appointed the first postmaster.

The post office was closed on December 7, 1888, but a new post office was established for the village on December 15, 1913, named Alpha, with William H. Peters as its postmaster. The village was incorporated as Alpha in 1914. The village was named after a letter of the Greek alphabet, which was a common practice among Michigan postmasters at that time.

The village's peak population was 818 in 1920, the first year that it was included in the census. Since then, its population has declined every census year as mines were closing, and it had a population of 145 at the time of the 2010 census. Alpha is largely a bedroom community for people who work at businesses in Crystal Falls and Iron River, its chief private employer being the Alpha Michigan Brewing Company.

Opened in May of 2018, the Brewing Company is located in the former bus garage attached to the former George F. Porter Public School, which closed in 1967, and which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The interior of the taproom was built from second-hand materials gathered from around the village, including a pew from the shuttered St. Edwards Catholic Church, and a bar that had previously been used as a buffet at the Alpha Inn and at the Alpha VFW Hall.

The focus of this category is on the village of Alpha, Michigan. Appropriate topics for this category include sites focused on the village itself or those representing Alpha businesses, industries, churches, schools, organizations, or individuals.

 

 

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