Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Skip to main content

About Shelley

Shelley History

In the spring of 1885 John F. Shelley, George, and James Steele, left their homes in American Fork, Utah, with a light wagon loaded with a month's supply of provisions and headed north to Idaho where they heard there were fine opportunities for young men to secure good land and make comfortable homes. Upon arriving in the Snake River Valley in southeastern Idaho, they found the grass tall and green, because of the abundance of rain fall, and wild flowers growing everywhere.

They traveled to Eagle Rock, now known as Idaho Falls, then to Iona, the farming section to the east. After choosing tracts of land to homestead they returned to American Fork for their families and the rest of their belongings.

John F. Shelley was especially impressed with the area ten miles south of Idaho Falls. Several times he had made trips to this area and could see the possibilities of the land and the prospects for water with which to irrigate it.

A few families were scattered through out the area, and Mr. Shelley decided to establish a mercantile business and lay out a town site. Having used his homestead right in Iona, Mrs. Shelley filed on 160 acres of the land, and in the spring of 1892. Mr. Shelley built the first store, barn and residence.

Mr. Shelley desperately needed building supplies, yet at this time there was no scheduled train stop. But Mr. Shelley persuaded the railroad company officials to stop the train long enough for a carload of lumber to be unloaded. The lumber was thrown carelessly from both sides of the train car in order to keep from holding up the train to long.

In the fall of 1892, Mr. Shelley moved his family to their new home, platted a town site, and began selling city lots to the people who came to seek new homes. A name was needed for the growing town. Mrs. Shelley suggested Shelco, and Mr. Shelley suggested Shelton. The name Shelco was submitted to the Oregon Short Line Railroad Company who had constructed the railroad spur. The railroad company replied, "Name your town what you wish. We have already named the spur Shelley".


General Information

Population: 4,409 - gathered from the 2010 census
Elevation: 4,630 feet above sea level

Mayor/Council form of government
Five member city government/staggered in four year terms

101 S. Emerson Avenue Shelley, ID 83274

Shelley Family Medical Center (208) 357-7404

Shelley-Firth Rural Fire District (208) 357-5454
Bingham County Sheriff (208) 785-1234
Shelley Police Dept. (208) 357-3446

Bingham County Heart to Hand Food Pantry (Shelley-Firth area)

Shelley hosts four beautiful and very functional city parks.  For more information regarding the parks that are available in the city and recreational activities please visit the Parks and Recreation page.

There are six schools in our city.  Dean Goosell Elementary, Sunrise Elementary, Riverview Elementary, Hazel Stuart Elementary, Hobbs Middle School, and the Shelley High School.  A new elementary school is being built and should occupied by next fall.  For more information about our schools please visit their web site.

If you need more information that is not listed here, please contact city hall at (208) 357-3390 or email us at [email protected]