Alpha is an unincorporated community in western Burnett County in the northwestern corner of the U.S. state of Wisconsin. The community is in the town of Wood River, which had a population of 974 at the 2000 census. There are fewer than a dozen households in within the community.
Alpha was settled primarily by Scandinavian immigrants from the Småland District of Sweden. The community was originally called Småland Prairie, a name rejected by the United States Postmaster General. The town's postmaster, also the local butter-maker, at a loss to come up with a better name, simply filled in the name of his Alpha brand cream separator.
The postmaster's butter business eventually became the Burnett Dairy Co-op. Early on, it processed so much milk that the excess whey turned the stream a creamy color; thus the stream's name, Buttermilk Creek.
The Alpha Store survived long after most general stores had closed. The business was owned through most of its years by the Anderson family. Gordon Anderson, the last owner of the store, sold everything from shoes to groceries to television sets. The building is now home to a small engine repair shop.