After years of farming and teaching, Alvin Crowell was admitted to the bar in June 1874. He promptly opened his own shop in Long Prairie, where he developed a general practice and pursued an interest in public office. He served three terms as Todd County Attorney, and ran unsuccessfully for probate judge in 1886. Around 1890 he moved to Dawson in Lac Qui Parle County and, later, to Turtle Lake Township in Beltrami County, where he farmed and practiced law.
Around 1900, he and his family settled in Bemidji, the seat of Beltrami County. There he restarted his law practice, not an easy task at age sixty. In 1904, he ran unsuccessfully for county attorney, the first of seven campaigns for office in the next thirteen years. At a time when most lawyers in this county ran for public office some time in their careers, he is notable for the frequency of his campaigns, sometimes seeking a new post only months after losing an election.
At last, in February, 1913, he was elected judge of the Bemidji Municipal Court---by one vote. He served four years. Cases decided by him were the subjects of many newspaper stories.
In 1917, at age seventy-five, he ran for a second term, but was defeated. He retired. He died on December 20, 1920.
This profile of Judge Crowell is one of a series of biographical sketches of lower court judges who served in Minnesota in the 19th and early 20th centuries.