Alcester was founded in 1879 by the Western Town Lot Company of Chicago, a company who had access to the future plans of the Chicago Northwestern Railroad’s trek into Dakota Territory. One hundred thirty-five acres of land were purchased from R.B. Harding and Mary Harding, divided into lots and sold for $50 each. A depot was the first building to be erected in Alcester and lumber company was the first business.
The Historic Hyden House, now a private residence located on Hyden Drive, was built in 1910 by one of Alcester’s first doctors. The large home was used as a medical facility and residence when it was completed. Later it became a bed and breakfast.
The Alcester Community Band was organized in 1921 with Deecort Hammitt as its director. The band played every Saturday night for many years and held a variety of concerts in the Old Opera House. Deecort Hammitt’s song “Hail South Dakota” was chosen as the state song in 1943.
Long time businesses in Alcester include the Alcester Union newspaper (now the Alcester Union & Hudsonite), Lincoln-Union Electric Company (now Southeastern Electric Cooperative, Inc.), State Bank of Alcester, Morningside Manor, Alkota Cleaning Systems, Inc. and Custom Coils. Alcester is also home to a grocery store, convenience store, two restaurants, a library, medical and dental office, drug store, two bars, hair salons, a chiropractor, insurance agencies, thrift store, furniture store, hardware store, grain elevator and more. Farming and agriculture are also very important to the community.
Alcester is very proud of the Alcester-Hudson School, which was nationally recognized as a Blue Ribbon School in 2005.
The Herbert Anderson Memorial Park, located on Highway 11 has two park shelters, a swimming pool, horseshoe pit, baseball field and restrooms. A South Dakota historical marker honoring Governor Archie Gubbrud, born in Norway Township north of Alcester, is located there.
Alcester is also home to the Union County Fair held each summer. Entertainment, commercial booths, food vendors and 4-H and open class judging events in livestock, grain, produce and the art are held.