Iowa has been home to several famous actors and actresses, including John Wayne, Ashton Kutcher, and Donna Reed. John Wayne was born in Winterset, Iowa, and Ashton Kutcher grew up in Cedar Rapids. Donna Reed, who won an Academy Award for her role in the movie "From Here to Eternity," was born in Denison, Iowa.
Shelby County, Iowa has a rich history that dates back to the early 1800s when European settlers first arrived in the area. Prior to that, the land was inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Sioux and Omaha tribes. The county was officially established on January 15, 1851, and named after Isaac Shelby, the first Governor of Kentucky.

In the early years, Shelby County played a significant role in transportation and trade due to its proximity to the Missouri River. The river served as a vital link for settlers, allowing them to transport goods and supplies in and out of the area. As a result, several small towns and trading posts were established along the river, including the county seat of Harlan. These towns served as important economic and social centers for the growing population.

Like many areas of the Midwest, Shelby County experienced rapid growth and development during the late 19th century. The arrival of the railroad in the 1870s further stimulated the local economy, making it easier for farmers to export their goods and for businesses to expand. Agriculture played a dominant role in the county's economy, with corn, soybeans, and livestock being the primary agricultural products.

Over the years, Shelby County has faced both triumphs and challenges. From adapting to changes in agricultural practices to weathering economic downturns, the county has shown resilience in the face of adversity. Today, Shelby County continues to thrive, with a diverse economy that includes agriculture, manufacturing, and services. It remains a close-knit community that embraces its history while looking toward a promising future.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Shelby County, Iowa.

  • 1851: Shelby County is established and named after Isaac Shelby, a military general and the first Governor of Kentucky.
  • 1867: The town of Shelby is platted and becomes the county seat.
  • 1871: The Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad reaches Shelby County, boosting economic development.
  • 1880s: Agriculture becomes the main industry in Shelby County, with farming and livestock production flourishing.
  • 1890: The population of Shelby County reaches its peak at around 12,000 residents.
  • 1920s: The Great Depression causes significant economic hardships, leading to a decline in population and agricultural productivity in the county.
  • 1940s: World War II brings temporary economic recovery to Shelby County, as the demand for agricultural products increases.
  • 1950s: The construction of Interstate 80 leads to improved transportation and connectivity for Shelby County.
  • 1960s: Shelby County experiences a decline in population as rural residents move to urban areas for job opportunities.
  • 1980s: The Oak Tree Well, one of the largest natural geysers in the world, is discovered in Shelby County, attracting tourists.
  • 2010s: The population of Shelby County stabilizes, and efforts are made to promote tourism and attract new industries to the area.