Summerfield Methodist Church Valley Grande developed around a cotton plantation owned by settler George Phillips, who had been granted the land in 1821. His log cabin home, which he called Grand View, also served as a stagecoach stop. Phillips’s later, larger three-story home was burned by federal forces during Gen. James H. Wilson’s raid through central Alabama, most likely at the end of March or the beginning of April 1865.
Valley Grande was incorporated in 2003 and in the process annexed much of neighboring Summerfield, an unincorporated community to the west that had been established in 1819 as Valley Creek. The Methodist Centenary Institute was founded there in 1841, and the town was renamed in 1845 in honor of Methodist preacher John Summerfield. It was at one time prosperous, stemming from its location in the midst of the Black Belt region and the surrounding cotton economy.
According to 2022 Census estimates, Valley Grande recorded a population of 3,627. Of that number, 79.8 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 19.4 percent as African American, 0.7 percent as two or more races, 0.2 percent as American Indian, and 0.1 percent as Hispanic. The town’s median household income was $65,682, and the per capita income was $27,530.
According to 2020 Census estimates, the workforce in Valley Grande was divided among the following industrial categories:
- Manufacturing (28.0 percent)
- Educational services and health care and social assistance (20.1 percent)
- Construction (10.2 percent)
- Public administration (8.2 percent)
- Professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services (7.7 percent)
- Other services, except public administration (6.7 percent)
- Retail trade (6.1 percent)
- Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (4.9 percent)
- Wholesale trade (4.7 percent)
- Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (2.6 percent)
- Arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services (0.6 percent)
- Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extraction (0.1 percent)
- Information (0.1 percent)
Public education for Valley Grande residents is administered by the Dallas County School System. The town has one elementary school and one middle school. Higher educational opportunities are available at nearby Wallace Community College Selma and Selma University, both in Selma.
Valley Grande is bisected by State Route 22, which runs north-south, and accessed by County Road 16, which connects to Summerfield to the west. Craig Field Airport is 14 miles to the south.
Events and Places of Interest
The Summerfield Historic District, encompassing many architectural periods and more than 55 acres, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Paul Grist State Park is located approximately nine miles north of Valley Grande and offers boating, camping, fishing, picnicking, and swimming. The town also has an 18-hole golf course.
Heritage of Dallas County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants Inc., 2004.