Selma was settled in 1847 by immigrants from various European countries. The name Selma is a traditional German girl name. In 1849, the Harrison and Brown stagecoach stop was built in Selma to handle passengers and freight on the San Antonio to Austin stagecoach line. John Harrison and his wife Martha moved to Selma in 1852, and he became the first postmaster of the town when the post office opened in 1856. Harrison was also co-owner of the Harrison and McCulloch stage line, which ran a postal route through Selma. Harrison's house still stands by Cibolo Creek, where it was built and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
German and Polish immigrants constituted most of the next wave of immigrants that settled in the area. By 1885, the population was 145, and at the turn of the century, the population peaked at 600. The population began a quick decline, so much that by 1906 the post office was closed. Selma's population dropped to 100 in 1940. The city incorporated in 1964 and has seen tremendous growth along the Interstate 35 corridor since 2000.
The Retama Racing Park opened in 1995, and The Forum, a 110-shop outdoor mall, opened in 2000. The old Harrison and Brown Stagecoach Stop was restored and rechristened the Selma Stage Stop, along with a visitor's center and park.
Today Selma is a bustling suburb of San Antonio, but it retains its German and European Heritage in its name and in the descendants of Europeans that still call this town home.