Foley was named for its founder, John B. Foley of Chicago. In 1902 he bought approximately 50,000 acres of land and became instrumental in the development of rail service to make travel to the area easier.

The first railroad station was built in 1905 and service from L&N Railroad began. The original station burned in 1908 and was replaced the following year by the station that is now the Foley Depot Museum.

The city was incorporated in 1915 and, with its rail service in place, became the economic hub of South Baldwin County, warehousing and shipping local farm products, notably potatoes. Through the years, the agricultural economy has remained strong. Although the railway service was discontinued in the 1970s, Foley’s location – convenient to interstate highways, international shipping and air service – has remained a driving force in its development.

While much of this coastal region is heavily tourism-dependent, the City of Foley has maintained a broader economic base. Along with the addition of attractions and businesses in the hospitality industry, the city and the entire South Baldwin area continue to see tremendous growth in all industries, both in the expansion of established businesses and the addition of new businesses into the community.