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Shelby, Montana
Downtown Shelby
Downtown Shelby
Location of Shelby, Montana
Location of Shelby, Montana
Country United States
State Montana
County Toole
Area
 • Total 5.96 sq mi (15.43 km2)
 • Land 5.78 sq mi (14.97 km2)
 • Water 0.17 sq mi (0.45 km2)
Elevation
3,297 ft (1,005 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 3,169
 • Density 548.27/sq mi (211.69/km2)
Time zone UTC-7 (Mountain (MST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-6 (MDT)
ZIP code
59474
Area code(s) 406
FIPS code 30-67450
GNIS feature ID 0776465
Website City of Shelby (official site)

Shelby is a city in and the county seat of Toole County, Montana, United States. The population was 3,169 at the 2020 census.

Geography

Shelby is located at 48°30′26″N 111°51′37″W / 48.50722°N 111.86028°W / 48.50722; -111.86028 (48.507270, -111.860218).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.18 square miles (16.01 km2), of which, 6.03 square miles (15.62 km2) is land and 0.15 square miles (0.39 km2) is water.

Climate

Shelby has four distinct seasons, and is considered an arid climate. Long, severe winters give way to springlike weather anywhere from March to May. Summers can be extremely dry and hot, though it is not unusual to experience a snow flurry in July. The area is prone to heat lightning, hail, and severe thunderstorms during the summer months. Fall weather is often unpredictable, with snow falling during October some years, and temperatures well into the 80s stretching until the end of November on other years. Due to the city's location just off of the Rocky Mountain Front, wind is a constant.

Climate data for Shelby, Montana
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 65
(18.3)
72
(22.2)
79
(26.1)
88
(31.1)
93
(33.9)
101
(38.3)
103
(39.4)
105
(40.6)
99
(37.2)
91
(32.8)
82
(27.8)
72
(22.2)
105
(40.6)
Average high °F (°C) 34
(1.1)
37
(2.8)
45
(7.2)
56
(13.3)
65
(18.3)
72
(22.2)
81
(27.2)
80
(26.7)
69
(20.6)
57
(13.9)
42
(5.6)
33
(0.6)
55.9
(13.29)
Average low °F (°C) 11
(-11.7)
13
(-10.6)
21
(-6.1)
29
(-1.7)
39
(3.9)
46
(7.8)
51
(10.6)
49
(9.4)
40
(4.4)
31
(-0.6)
20
(-6.7)
11
(-11.7)
30.1
(-1.06)
Record low °F (°C) −42
(-41.1)
−45
(-42.8)
−32
(-35.6)
−19
(-28.3)
9
(-12.8)
27
(-2.8)
31
(-0.6)
25
(-3.9)
0
(-17.8)
−16
(-26.7)
−32
(-35.6)
−46
(-43.3)
−46
(-43.3)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.33
(8.4)
0.36
(9.1)
0.68
(17.3)
1.15
(29.2)
2.07
(52.6)
2.36
(59.9)
1.20
(30.5)
1.22
(31)
1.15
(29.2)
0.59
(15)
0.45
(11.4)
0.37
(9.4)
11.93
(303)
Source: The Weather Channel (Historical Monthly Averages)

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 537
1930 2,004 273.2%
1940 2,538 26.6%
1950 3,058 20.5%
1960 4,017 31.4%
1970 3,111 −22.6%
1980 3,142 1.0%
1990 2,763 −12.1%
2000 3,216 16.4%
2010 3,376 5.0%
2020 3,169 −6.1%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

At the 2010 census there were 3,376 people in 1,245 households, including 717 families, in the city. The population density was 559.9 inhabitants per square mile (216.2/km2). There were 1,371 housing units at an average density of 227.4 per square mile (87.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 89.5% White, 0.8% African American, 6.5% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.8% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.0%.

Of the 1,245 households 28.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.8% were married couples living together, 9.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.4% were non-families. 37.4% of households were one person and 14% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.84.

The median age was 40.3 years. 18.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 29.3% were from 25 to 44; 29.9% were from 45 to 64; and 13.6% were 65 or older. The gender makeup of the city was 58.3% male and 41.7% female.

History

Toole County Courthouse
Toole County Courthouse

Shelby was named in honor of Peter O. Shelby, General Manager of the Montana Central Railway.

Trivia

The most famous event in the town's history might be the Jack Dempsey vs. Tommy Gibbons boxing match. The event, and its relation to the town, is dealt with in the article about the fight. Recently the town hosted a dog camp named Camp Collie that made national news.

Shelby appears as the eastern terminus of the Marias Pass route available on Microsoft Train Simulator 1.

Transportation

Shelby Amtrak
Shelby's Amtrak station

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides daily service to Shelby (both east and west), operating its Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle and Portland, Oregon.

Education

Shelby Public Schools educates students from kindergarten through 12th grade. Shelby High School's team name is the Coyotes.

Toole County Library is a public library in Shelby.

Notable people

  • James Grady (author), was born and grew up here. He was on the staff of Senator Lee Metcalf, a research columnist for Jack Anderson, author of Six Days of the Condor (filmed as Three Days...) and numerous other spy and crime novels, and writer for Politics Daily. Resident of Washington DC area.
  • Jack Horner, paleontologist, was born here.
  • Larry Krystkowiak, former NBA player (1986–1996), grew up here. He is the former head men's basketball coach at his alma mater, the University of Montana and former head coach of the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks. He was named the head coach at the University of Utah in March 2011.
  • Leroy Hood, scientist associated with the Human Genome Project grew up here and graduated from Shelby High School in 1956.

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