The city of Valley officially dates to 1980, but the area has long been settled, first by the Creeks and then by whites after the Creeks were forced from their land in 1836. The region was initially agricultural until two large textile mills were built in the 1860s. The mill towns of Langdale and Riverview grew up around the mills of the West Point Manufacturing Company, and in the early 1900s the company built two more mills, creating the villages of Shawmut and Fairfax.
Shawmut Mill and Village The four mill villages remained unincorporated until the latter part of the twentieth century. As the textile industry began to fade as the dominant economic force in the area, however, the villages found themselves more dependent on obtaining public services from Chambers County authorities. In April 1979, the four municipalities began negotiations to merge and incorporate; a main tenet of the agreement to incorporate was that no property taxes be levied by the new town. An incorporation vote was taken on April 22, 1980, and the measure passed overwhelmingly. Because the general area had long been referred to as “The Valley,” the city took the name Valley. City services were established, and in 1985 a new city hall complex began operations.
In 2009, a Kia Motors Manufacturing plant opened in Georgia, five miles northeast of the city, and other new businesses that support the Kia facility have sprung up in the county, bringing manufacturing jobs back to the area.
According to 2020 Census estimates, Valley recorded a population of 9,195. Of that number, 59.3 percent of respondents identified themselves as white, 37.7 percent as African American, 1.8 percent as Asian, 1.7 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 0.4 percent as two or more races, and 0.2 percent as American Indian. The town’s median household income was $50,445, and the per capita income was $24,167.
According to 2020 Census estimates, the workforce in Valley was divided among the following industrial categories:
- Manufacturing (38.8 percent)
- Educational services and health care and social assistance (19.6 percent)
- Retail trade (8.0 percent)
- Arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services (7.2 percent)
- Professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services (6.0 percent)
- Public administration (4.5 percent)
- Wholesale trade (3.9 percent)
- Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (3.7 percent)
- Construction (3.3 percent)
- Other services, except public administration (2.3 percent)
- Information (1.6 percent)
- Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (1.1 percent)
- Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extraction (0.2 percent)
Schools in Valley are overseen by the Chambers County School District; the town has three elementary schools, one middle school, and two high schools.
Valley is bisected by U.S. Highway 29 (north-south). Interstate 85 lies approximately two miles west of the city. The Columbus, Georgia, Metropolitan Airport is located 20 southeast of the city, and the Atlanta-Hartsfield International Airport is 72 miles to the northeast.
Events and Places of Interest
Horace King Memorial Covered Bridge The historic districts of the four former mill villages—Langdale, Fairfax, Riverview, and Shawmut—are all listed on both the National Register of Historic Places and the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. The Iron Bridge, which spans Moore’s Creek, was reconstructed around 1920 from material salvaged from the original bridge that spanned the Chattahoochee River and was pulled down by a flood.
The Valley Community Center offers fitness facilities that include racquetball courts, and an adjacent sports complex has multi-use athletics fields, tennis courts, and soccer fields. Outdoor recreational opportunities include a 7.1-mile walking track built on the bed of the former Chattahoochee Valley Railway, and the Chattahoochee River, which borders the town on the east and offers fishing, swimming, and boating opportunities.
Since 2008, the city has held the Day on the River festival at the Old Shawmut Airport; the celebration takes place in May on Memorial Day weekend and features a barbecue championship, fishing tournament, live music, multiple food venues, and a fireworks display.
- Chambers County Heritage Book Committee. The Heritage of Chambers County, Alabama. Clanton, Ala.: Heritage Publishing Consultants, 1999.