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Sheldahl, Iowa
Sheldahl First Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
Sheldahl First Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places
Location of Sheldahl, Iowa
Location of Sheldahl, Iowa
Country  United States
State  Iowa
Counties Story, Polk, Boone
 • Total 0.80 sq mi (2.08 km2)
 • Land 0.80 sq mi (2.08 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
1,033 ft (315 m)
 • Total 297
 • Density 370.32/sq mi (142.93/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 515
FIPS code 19-72345
GNIS feature ID 0461555

Sheldahl is a city in Polk, Boone, and Story counties in the U.S. state of Iowa. The population was 297 at the time of the 2020 census.

The Boone County portion of Sheldahl is part of the Boone Micropolitan Statistical Area, while the Story County portion is part of the Ames Metropolitan Statistical Area. Together, these two areas form the Ames–Boone Combined Statistical Area. The small portion of the city that extends into Polk County is part of the Des MoinesWest Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area.


The area was settled by 120 Norwegian immigrants from Lisbon, Illinois on June 7, 1855; including Osmond and Anna Sheldahl and five of their children. It incorporated as a city on January 18, 1882.

The Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad established a rail line through Sheldahl during the 1880s. In 2005, Union Pacific Railroad sold a 25-mile discontinued rail corridor—which included the line through Sheldahl—to the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, which enabled the construction of the recreational High Trestle Trail. Access to the trail, including a parking area and washroom, is located in Sheldahl.


Sheldahl is located at 41°51′51″N 93°41′47″W / 41.86417°N 93.69639°W / 41.86417; -93.69639 (41.864114, -93.696455).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.84 square miles (2.18 km2), all of it land.


Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1900 179 —    
1910 202 +12.8%
1920 175 −13.4%
1930 209 +19.4%
1940 206 −1.4%
1950 211 +2.4%
1960 279 +32.2%
1970 285 +2.2%
1980 315 +10.5%
1990 315 +0.0%
2000 336 +6.7%
2010 319 −5.1%
2020 297 −6.9%
Source: and Iowa Data Center
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 319 people, 124 households, and 98 families living in the city. The population density was 379.8 inhabitants per square mile (146.6/km2). There were 132 housing units at an average density of 157.1 per square mile (60.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.7% White, 0.3% Native American, and 0.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.9% of the population.

There were 124 households, of which 31.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.1% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 21.0% were non-families. 16.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 2.84.

The median age in the city was 42.3 years. 25.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.3% were from 25 to 44; 29.4% were from 45 to 64; and 16.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.8% male and 49.2% female.


The community is within the North Polk Community School District.

Notable people

  • Robert J. Hermann - ninth Director of the National Reconnaissance Office.
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