City of Shelby History


Ten Essential Facts from Shelby’s History

1.  Prior to white settlement, various Native Americans called the Ohio country their home.  They include the Shawnee, the Delaware, the Mohican, and the Wyandot tribes.

2.  In April 1818, Stephen & Sarah Marvin and her mother, Mrs. Deborah Moyer, arrived from Connecticut.  Other early settlers were Mr. & Mrs. Eli Wilson, Mr. & Mrs. Henry Whitney, and Revolutionary War veteran James Gamble and his son, John.

3.  Gamble’s Mill Post Office was established in 1826.  It was named after the horse-powered grist mill around which the fledgling community grew.

4.  On June 26, 1834, James Gamble had laid out “the Town of Shelby.”  He named it after Gen. Isaac Shelby, a hero of the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 and first governor of Kentucky.  Lot No. 1 was located at the southwest corner of West Main and South Gamble Streets.

5.  The first train arrived in Shelby in 1846 on the Sandusky, Mansfield & Newark Railroad (now the Ashland Railway).  Shelby Junction is believed to be the site of the first crossing of railroads west of the Allegheny Mountains.

6.  Shelby was incorporated as a village in 1853 with William Hiles as the first mayor.  In 1921 the village became a city and adopted a charter.

7.  The seamless tube industry in the United States was born in Shelby in 1890 with the establishment of “the Tuby.”  Other business of note over the years included the lamp works, the gum company, the bicycle factory, the insurance company, and the air force depot.

8.  The 1890s witnessed the creation of Shelby’s electric, water, and wastewater systems.

9.  On July 4, 1898, the community witnessed its greatest disaster: the collapse of the Main Street Bridge.  Seven died and 400 were injured after a wedding performed on the structure.

10.  Famous Shelbians include the late W. W. Skiles, a member of Congress; the late Charles Follis, the first black professional football player; the late Dawn Powell, a noted author; Larry Siegfried, a one-time professional basketball player; and Robert W. Houk, former Public Printer of the United States.