Alpena Pass was founded in 1908 atop a graveyard shortly after the Missouri-North Arkansas Railroad was built through Boone County. The pass and town were named after a black cook who worked for the railroad. In the 1950's the word pass was dropped from the name, thus creating the current name, Alpena.
At the time of the town's founding, the town of Carrollton was in decline. Many of the buildings of Carrollton were disassembled, moved and reassembled at Alpena Pass. When trains stopped running through the town, it lost population and importance to the area.
There were 146 households out of which 35.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.9% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.9% were non-families. 31.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.21.
In the town the population was spread out with 31.0% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 18.3% from 45 to 64, and 17.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 83.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.6 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $23,906, and the median income for a family was $28,333. Males had a median income of $29,000 versus $17,125 for females. The per capita income for the town was $13,429. About 7.3% of families and 13.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.0% of those under age 18 and 29.4% of those age 65 or over.