Welcome To KEY TO THE CITY's Page For
Shelby County, Iowa
"Purple Martin Capital of Iowa"
The town of Shelby was founded as a railroad town in 1870 and soon became a bustling community in the fertile farmland between the Nishnabotna River and Mosquito Creek. The Rock Island Railroad left the town in the 50's and 60's, however, when it constructed a short-cut from Council Bluffs and Atlantic that saved 17 miles of winding route. Part of that route is in the process of being converted to a trail, crossing over Stone Arch, a landmark just east of Shelby. In the 1970's a new transportation link was built that has been a key factor in the economic health and well-being of the community. Interstate 80 that connects both coasts of the United States passes right by Shelby and is a vital connection to the
nation. In recent years, Shelby has become a host to visitors from all over the world.
Several landmarks give the community a distinctive character such as: a 76-foot tall Agricultural Symbol as a tribute to agriculture is located in a park featuring plantings of prairie grass and wildflowers, a favorite rest stop of travelers; an Antique Coke sign restored in 1986 from original 1932 vintage; the boyhood home of Clyde Williams, all american athlete; and nearby
Carsten's Farm, a demonstration farm of 1880's era. Recently, Shelby has been attempting to become the Purple Martin Capital of Iowa in an effort to use ecological sound ways to
control mosquitoes. Over fifty martin houses in the community establish this title and mainstreet banners now boast of widespread community participation. This history is provided by the City of Shelby.
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