Valley, Alabama became a city in 1980, but its history dates back to the late 1860s when twin textile mills and towns, Langdale and Riverview, were built on the banks of the Chattahoochee River. In the early 1900s, two additional mills and mill villages, Shawmut and Fairfax, were built. In 1980 these 4 mill towns incorporated to form the City of Valley, Alabama. Because the general area had long been referred to as the The Valley, the city took the name Valley.
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.