Shelby, IA

Established in 1870 •  population 696

“We acknowledge reality and encourage dreams”


    Located on Interstate 80 (exit 34) in the heart of southwest Iowa’s picturesque countryside.

Utility & Telecommunication providers

    Water: Shelby Municipal Utilities.

    Gas: MidAmerican Energy.

    Electricity:  Shelby Municipal Utilities.

    Phone Service: Iowa Telecom.

    Internet Service: Farmers Mutual  provides 56kbs

            & DSL from 128 kps to 8 mbs.

    Cable Service: Walnut Telephone 32 channels

    Cellular Service: Cellular One, Verizon & FMCTC wireless.

Municipal Services

    Mayor/Council government

    Comprehensive city plan: Yes

    City zoning ordinance in effect: Yes

    County zoning ordinance in effect: Yes

    Subdivision ordinance with design standards in effect: Yes

    Number of volunteer fire department personnel: 25

    Fire insurance class in city: 8

    Fire insurance class outside city: 9

    Police protection: Shelby County Sheriff’s Department.

    Industrial waste pickup service: Yes

    Percentage of city streets paved: 98%


    Youth attend Avoca-Hancock-Shelby-Tennant School in Avoca, grades K-12.

Business & Industry

    Shelby's largest employer is REM Leadway, a group care facility providing adult residential services for persons over the age of 18 with mental retardation and developmental disabilities. The facility houses 54 residents in five different homes with a staff of 86 employees. REM is a privately-owned company with 22 facilities in 22 states with total employment over 4,000.  Other large employers include the Shelby DQ (12); Shelby Vet Clinic (8), Doug's Welding (4) and D&D Auto (4).


    Lutheran Church - United Methodist Church - Presbyterian Church

Bragging Rights

    1997 Hall of Fame member -  Clyde Williams left a lasting mark on Iowa State, the University of Iowa and the game of football. The innovative coach became the first to implement the overhand pass and the running punt. Williams tallied a 33‑14‑2 mark as head coach before he became Iowa State’s athletic director in 1913. He started ISU’s basketball program in 1907,  coached the Cyclones until 1911 and acquired funds to build an athletic field (later named after him) and State Gymnasium. Williams was the Univ. of Iowa’s first All‑American, quarterbacked the Hawkeyes to undefeated seasons in 1899 and 1900. Williams is a member of the University of Iowa’s athletic hall of fame.


     Agricultural site - this 76' steel sculpture along Shelby's Interstate 80  exit, symbolizes the importance of agriculture, and of the men and women who work the rich land to produce food for the world, and of the pioneers who tamed the corn stalk. The sculpture highlights the major commodities produced by area farmers — corn, beef and pork. Sculptor Cliff Carlson of Wesley, Iowa was commissioned to design the nearly $14,000 sculpture.

    Carsten’s Farmstead (National Register of Historic Places) - near Shelby, it recreates a rural life when threshing, saw milling, baling, and corn chopping were all done without the modern machinery available today. All of the chores performed on a turn of the century farm are recreated in and around the 14 buildings that make up this magnificent farmstead. During the first weekend after Labor Day the farm is buzzing with activities. The farm  is open on weekends during the summer and fall. (712) 544‑2056.

    Rock Island Old Stone Arch Nature Trail - an 1883 report by the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad listed only four 30' arch culvert bridges -- the Shelby bridge was one of them and has been named the first railroad structure built in Shelby County. Most railroad bridges in Iowa were wood or timber, but limestone for the trestle was believed to have come from a quarry in Earlham, Iowa, not far from the railroads main line in that area. For more information (712) 544‑2404.


    Founded as a  railroad town in 1870 it became a bustling community. The Rock Island Railroad left in the 1950’s and 60’s, and part of that route was converted to a nature trail, crossing over the Stone Arch, a landmark just east of Shelby.  In the 1970’s Interstate 80 adjoining Shelby.

        Shelby has been named the Purple Martin Capital of Iowa. Over fifty martin houses in the community establish this title and mainstreet banners now boast of widespread community participation.



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