Shelley, Idaho. A small town that runs north to south, just 10 minutes from Idaho Falls, on Highway 91 as a part of the Bingham County and Snake River Valley. Shelley is now over a hundred years old. Established in 1904, it was named after John F Shelley, who moved to the Snake River Valley in 1892. The reason he moved just north of where Blackfoot is now, is he wanted to start a small store, to which he needed lumber and other supplies to build it. As the site he was looking at was quite a ways from the community that existed towards Blackfoot, he had asked the railroad to stop off and make a special stop on his behalf. The railroad was all right with this, so long as he unloaded the supplies in under twenty minutes. The lumber and supplies were thrown off and the “city” of Shelley was on its way to creation. When the family of John F Shelley moved there with him, he and his wife had a debate on what they should name the town. His wife opted for “Shelco” and John wanted the name “Shelton.” During the time of the off loading, the railroad had put a spur down. They had already named the spur “Shelley.” The Shelley family obliged and thus it was named “Shelley.”
As of 1927, the land and town had been well substantiated at that time as an in-between for workings between Eagle Rock (now known as Idaho Falls) and what is the Blackfoot area. The railroad passes directly through Shelley to this day. Also, as of 1927, the very well known “Idaho Annual Spud Day” has been going. It is celebrated on the 3rd of Saturday of September each and every year. This is a day to celebrate Shelley, and it’s history, with a parade, live bands, vendors, fun contests, a tug of war that is over mashed potatoes, a spud picking contest, and free baked potatoes. This goes along with the very silly mascot for Shelley. The russet-burbank potato that wears a crown, robe and carries a scepter.
Shortly before the full establishment of the name, “Shelley,” There was a fire in 1902 that destroyed everything on State Street (Main Street), except for Nalders furniture store and a general merchandise store. The importance of Nalders staying open, is in 1934 Mr Nalder worked for Eckersell funeral home and planning in Rigby, Idaho. At this time, he decided to branch off and create his own funeral home, Nalders Funeral home, which is still, very much, in play in Shelley today. One other notable figure to come from Shelley, is Lavina Fielding Anderson, an LDS scholar and author.
As you go through Shelley today, it has a very substantial main street, still known as State Street. There are many shops, a theatre, and restaurants along State Street. Small businesses have come and gone, here and there, on State Street. Some of the main stays are Mr Pizza, a local ma and pa pizzeria, that is still utilizing a brick over in cooking their pizza. There is the Virginia Theatre that still does plays and musicals, month to month, but it’s main attractions are the Theatre of Lost Souls, the Haunted Hospital that’s right next to it, and the Christmas Carol every single Christmas. There is a furniture store, as well as a second hand store, that does delve in selling new items, as well, known as Hidden Treasures. As it grew, Shelley garnered banks, auto parts stores, and now even has a Pizza Hut. The main stay of grocery shopping is Broulims, a grocery store that made it’s creation in Rigby, then made it’s way around to other locations, including a big one in Ammon now.
Shelley High School houses around 600 students and the school is mirrored after a potato cellar and is known as the “Spud Cellar” as a nickname. The roof is created to look, and feel, like a potato cellar. Each and every year, as they grow, the football team is always a very well known team and does well each and every year. They have produced some of the best running backs in the southeastern Idaho football leagues, and sent many players to local schools to play college football. There is a greenbelt that wraps the Snake River, where many people indulge in walks, hikes and going fishing. As the Snake River is known to be some of the finest finishing in Idaho, there is a great place for people to, literally, go out their back door and get in some fishing.
If you are looking for the small town feel, a place to get a lot of farm land, or some land in general, but still be close to the city of Idaho Falls, this is the place to be. A very small community, that is easy to come together and have a great hometown feel.