Incorporated in 1889, Waleska remembers Warluskee, the daughter of an Indian chief who once lived in the area. When, in the 1830s, the U.S. government forced Warluskee, along with her people, to move West, the girl's friends, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Reinhardt, named their settlement in her honor.
In the past, industry in Waleska included gristmills, lumbering, tobacco manufacturing and some mineral development. The lumber industry is still active in the area, as is agriculture. The chief "industry" of the town, however, has always been Reinhardt College, and Waleska is regarded, almost exclusively, as a college town.