The town occupies the site of an Indian village which was of considerable importance during the Creek War. It was in Attalla that David Brown, a Cherokee, assisted by the Rev. D. S. Butterick, prepared the “Cherokee Spelling Book”.
Attalla was incorporated as a city government on February 5, 1872, and was founded in 1870 on land donated for the site of the town by W. C. Hammond, a plantation owner. The town was officially named “Attalla” in 1893. “My Home” is the most generally accepted meaning for the name Attalla. Attalla was prosperous until the railroads that it depended on went into bankruptcy.
Attalla is located at 34°0′35″N 86°5′54″W (34.009818, -86.098413).
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.7 square miles (17 km2), all of it land. The city is home to the site of the first working hydroelectric dam in the world.