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West Alexander Borough

West Alexander Borough, PO Box 299, West Alexander, PA 15376; phone: 724-484-0305.

Beginnings

The first plan of lots leading to the establishment of the town was created in 1796 by Robert Humphreys who obtained the land including and surrounding the town by a Virginia Certificate in the 1780s. In 1787 or '88, Humphreys deeded part of his land to the predecessor of the present Presbyterian Church which was then called "Three Ridges." This congregation is believed to have been founded by Rev. John McMillan, founder of many Presbyterian churches across Washington County. Humphreys' land sale was not very successful, possibly due to his Virginia deed (early settlers were reluctant to buy land granted by Virginia after the Pennsylvania-Virginia Land Dispute).

By 1817, most of Humphreys' plan of lots as well as adjoining land had passed into the hands of Charles DeHass, who is sometimes credited as the town's founder. DeHass appears to have been a speculative town planner. Prior to coming to West Alexander, he laid out the town of Columbia at the eastern edge of Washington County and now entirely within the limits of the Borough of Donora and proposed Columbia as the seat of a new county then under consideration. In spite of several petitions by local residents, the new county was never formed. DeHass arrived in West Alexander while the National Pike was being built through the town. He called his revitalization of Humphreys' town "West Alexandria."

  1. Walker, Laura and Necciai, Terry, Washington County History and Landmarks Foundation, West Alexander Historic District, nomination document, 1984, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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