Foley dedicates plaque honoring town’s namesake

Foley dedicates plaque honoring town’s namesake
John Foley led effort to have railroad spur extended to town

Almost a century after the death of the community’s founder, the vision of John Foley is still guiding the growing city.
The city of Foley dedicated a plaque recognizing John Foley set into the renovated fountain in the park named for the community founder.
Foley established the community later named for him in 1905 when he led the effort to have a railroad spur extended from Bay Minette to South Baldwin County. The community grew quickly and the town of Foley was incorporated in 1915.
John Foley died in 1925. John B. Foley Park, where the fountain and Centennial Plaza are located, was later named for him.
City officials and employees, members of the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce and Foley Main Street and two of John Foley’s descendants, John Foley III and Dohoya Foley Bentley, took part in the dedication event Thursday, April 25.
Mayor Ralph Hellmich said the park is a fitting tribute to the community’s founder.
“This park is the heart of downtown. It is where it all starts. And I think that the city has done a good job using the park for the purposes that Mr. Foley intended. It is a meeting place. It’s the heart of the city,” Hellmich said..
Hellmich said Foley’s plans for downtown and the city are similar to those developed many years later by urban planners.
“It’s great to go back and look at the layout of old Foley,” Hellmich said. “Old Foley was laid out in the village concept. We had wide boulevards that were spaced out. We had part of the city designated as an industrial kind of area. Now, all these planners are coming back and doing what he was doing back then.”
He said the vision of the community’s founders helped Foley grow from a modest beginning into a rapidly developing city.
“We’re now at 26,500 people, which surprises some people,” Hellmich said. “It doesn’t surprise me because we all know it’s a great place, where it’s safe. Now everybody has figured that out too.”