Shelby Montana Facts


Shelby is named after Peter P. Shelby, general manager of the Montana Central Railroad. In 1891 the Great Northern was making its way to Marias Pass and the builders dropped a boxcar from the train and called it a station. Shelby himself is believed to have said that Shelby would not amount to much. He was wrong: Shelby grew into a distribution and trade center for 50 miles in every direction. Shelby is the county seat of Toole County and 75 miles east of the Continental Divide and Glacier National Park. It lies approximately 35 miles south of the international boundary between Canada and the United States. The city lies on the trans-continental east-west main line of the Great Northern Santé Fe Railroad running between Minneapolis-St. Paul and Seattle. It is also located on the trans-continental east-west US Highway 2 and north-south Interstate Highway 15. Interstate 15 is the main highway into Canada servicing the communities of Lethbridge and Calgary. The Port of Sweetgrass is the largest entry between Seattle and Minneapolis. The 24 hour port offers U.S. Customs brokerage service for clearance of commercial traffic entering and leaving the United States.

In the 1890's the town was a cowboy town with hardly any fences or homesteaders. It was incorporated on June 7, 1910. By 1913 there were 5,000 entries for land in just one office. Homesteaders flooded into the area. The homesteaders suffered drought and became desperate. By the 1920's there was an exodus of homesteaders. In 1921 Gordon Campbell, a geologist found oil that stretched all the way to the Canadian border. New life came to Shelby. Shelby is historically significant for being the home of the Dempsey-Gibbons World Heavyweight Championship prizefight that was heal here on July 4th, 1923. The fight went 15 rounds with Dempsey winning by a decision.


Lake Shel-oole- I-15 Exit #364
Lewis & Clark RV Park- 1535 Oilfield Ave.
Shelby RV Park & Resort- adjacent to Comfort Inn & Suites
Trails West RV Park- adjacent to Best Western Shelby Inn & Suites
Williamson Park- I-15 Exit 358

Chamber of Commerce

Open Monday through Friday from 9 am to noon. The Shelby Area Chamber of Commerce is located at 100 Montana Avenue.


Shelby’s churches invite you to worship and become involved in church related activities. The community is served by the following churches: Church of Jesus Christ Latter- Day Saints, Community Methodist Church, First Baptist Church, Jehovah’s Witness Church, Living Faith Baptist Church, New Life Church, Seventh Day Adventists St. Williams Catholic Church and St. Lukes Lutheran Church.

Civic Center

It is located at 669 Park Drive across from Marias Medical Center. They offer volleyball, racquetball, and exercise classes and a weight room.

Financial Institutions

We are the home of three full service banks: First State Bank, Wells Fargo and US Bank. We also have two credit unions, Shelby Federal Community Credit Union and Bear Paw Credit Union.


The Toole County Library is located at 229 2nd Ave South. It is a very pleasant place to meet your reading needs. The library offers “inter-library loan service” so it can borrow books from around the state. The library is also equipped with computers for checking emails.

County Fair

The 4 County Marias Fair is held in Shelby each year on the 3rd weekend of July from Thursday through Sunday east of town at 619 Marias Fair Road.


Shelby has a weekly newspaper, the Shelby Promoter and an AM-FM Radio Station featuring local, statewide and national news, weather, sports and entertainment. KSEN-AM is located at 1150 on the dial and K-96 is at 96.7 on the FM dial.

The Golden Triangle

Shelby is located near the center of the "Golden Triangle", Montana’s richest irrigated and non-irrigated wheat and barley region. The Golden Triangle produces 70% of the barley and 60% of the wheat in Montana. Toole County also produces 90% of the mustard seed grown in the United States.

The Marias River

The Marias River, named after Meriwether Lewis' cousin, winds its way past the Marias Valley Golf Course and Country Club. Also located along the river is Williamson Park.

Toole County

Toole County encompasses 1965 square miles and is 54 miles wide. The highest elevation is 6960 feet.

Toole County was named for Joseph K. Toole, the first Governor of the State of Montana.

City of Shelby

The City of Shelby is governed by a Mayor and a City Council. Dr Larry Bonderud was elected Mayor in November 1989 but has served in city government since 1977. City Hall is at 112 1st Street South. The Community Economic Development Director, Lorette Carter is located in the historic City Hall at 104 E Main Street.

Medical Facilities

Shelby has excellent facilities with Marias Medical Care, Marias Healthcare and Marias Care Center. The Marias Heritage Center is a retirement and assisted living center.


The Roxy Theatre is downtown and operates seven days a week with movies at 4, 7 and 9 PM.


Shelby is home to several motels: The Comfort Inn, Crossroads Inn, Glacier Motel, O'Haire Manor Motel, Shelby Suites & Inn, Sherlock Motel, and Totem Motel.

Passenger Trains

The Amtrak train stops in Shelby 7 days a week. The east bound train arrives at approximately 11:20 am and the west bound train arrives at approximately 5:10 pm. Shelby has 50 employees that live locally and work for Amtrak.


Shelby has excellent schools with a complex of schools on the north side that include a new elementary school, J. and Senior High School.

Swimming pool

The Shelby Swimming pool provides an indoor recreational opportunity from June 1st to August 30th. The pool is located at 105 12th Ave North. there is also a wading pool for toddlers adjacent to the swimming pool.


Shelby has a very active group of quilters. The Triangle Squares Quilt Guild meets every 3rd Tuesday of each month. Check the Creative Needle at 325 Main Street and Quilt With Class at 131 4th Ave South. For all your quilting needs.

Visitor Information Center

The Visitor Information Center is located at 100 Montana Avenue and is open during the summer months. It has a wide range of free pamphlets and brochures from the State of Montana and free Wi-Fi access.