Foley Foley is named for John B. Foley of Chicago, who bought land in the area in 1901 and then formed Magnolia Springs Land Company. He persuaded the Louisville & Nashville Railroad (L&N) to run a spur to the area by promising to pay for the crossties needed for the line. By 1905, the town was large enough to warrant a post office, and it incorporated in 1915. Foley was primarily a farming community, served by the L&N via a depot and warehouse for farm products, notably potatoes. Early businesses included a bottling company that produced a soft-drink called “Ski-Hi.” The first newspaper, a weekly called The Onlooker, began publication in 1907. Today, the city is a popular destination for its outlet malls.
According to 2020 Census estimates, Foley recorded a population of 19,337. Of that number, 85.1 percent identified themselves as white, 8.9 percent as Hispanic, 7.2 percent as African American, 2.9 percent as two or more races, and 1.3 percent as Asian. The city’s median household income was $48,373, and per capita income was $28,190.
According to 2020 Census estimates, the workforce in Foley was divided among the following industrial categories:
- Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (18.2 percent)
- Educational services, and health care and social assistance (12.2 percent)
- Construction (10.4 percent)
- Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (10.3 percent)
- Retail trade (8.9 percent)
- Other services, except public administration (8.8 percent)
- Finance, insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (7.9 percent)
- Manufacturing (7.7 percent)
- Public administration (7.2 percent)
- Transportation and warehousing and utilities (4.5 percent)
- Wholesale trade (2.0 percent)
- Information (1.6 percent)
- Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (0.3 percent)
Schools in Foley are part of the Baldwin School District; the city has two elementary, one intermediate, one middle, and one high school. Coastal Alabama Community College oversees the Career and Technical Facility in the Baldwin Center for Business Development in Foley.
Foley is intersected by U.S. Highway 98 (east-west) and State Highway 59 (north-south). The Foley Municipal Airport is located three miles northwest of the city center and serves general aviation.
Events and Places of Interest
Foley Railroad Museum Each November, Foley holds the three-day Heritage Harbor Days in Foley Heritage Park; during this celebration, Foley sends its 28-foot shrimp boat, the “Miss Foley,” to another city along with food, crafts, and music representative of city’s heritage. The exchange city reciprocates with a slice of its own culture and heritage. Past exchange cities include Maggie Valley, North Carolina; Ozark, Missouri; and Winchester, Tennessee, among others. The celebration has taken place since 2001 and includes live entertainment featuring local and national bands, dancers, storytellers, children’s activities, food, and fireworks. The city also holds a Flower and Garden Extravaganza in April in Heritage Park, a downtown Halloween event, and an early December winter celebration.
Foley has nine city parks with athletic fields for softball, baseball, and soccer, as well as basketball and tennis courts and two municipal swimming pools. The city also features a recently opened hiking and biking trail and a horse arena.
The Foley Depot Museum, located in downtown Foley, houses the city archives and history museum, as well as a model train exhibit. The Foley Downtown Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Foley is a popular shopping destination, having one of the largest outlet malls in the state.
Rich, Doris. When Foley Was Young, 1900-1921. Foley, Ala.: Underwood Printing Company, 1983.
The Heritage of Baldwin County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 2001.