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 Union 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.
As of the 2010 Census, the population of Valley Grande was 4,020. Of that number, 75.2 percent of respondents reported themselves as white, 23.0 percent as black, 0.8 percent as two or more races, 0.5 percent as Hispanic, 0.4 percent as Native American, and 0.4 percent as Asian. The median household income, according to 2010 Census estimates, was $57,432 and the per capita income was $25,767.
According to 2010 Census estimates, the Valley Grande workforce was divided among the following major industrial categories:
· Educational services, and health care and social assistance (26.7 percent)
· Manufacturing (16.2 percent)
· Retail trade (13.7 percent)
· Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (11.5 percent)
· Construction (8.1 percent)
· Public administration (7.0 percent)
· Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (3.4 percent)
· Other services, except public administration (3.1 percent)
· Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing (3.1 percent)
· Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (2.9 percent)
· Information (2.3 percent)
· Wholesale trade (1.0 percent)
· Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extraction (0.9 percent)
Public education for Valley Grande residents is administered by the Dallas County School System, which oversees one elementary school in Valley Grande that serves approximately 530 students and employs approximately 30 educators and one middle school that serves approximately 345 students and employs approximately 25 educators. Higher educational opportunities are available at nearby Wallace Community College Selma, Selma University, and Concordia College, all 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 M. 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.
Published January 27, 2012
Last updated March 21, 2013