The community was named after the general manager of the Montana Central Railroad, Peter P. Shelby. The town grew into a distribution center within a 50-mile radius. A cowboy town early on, Shelby was incorporated in 1910. In 1921 Gordon Campbell, a geologist, found oil stretching all the way to the Canadian border.
Marias Medical Center is the leading primary, long-term, assisted living and specialty care provider in North Central Montana. The facility offers services such as acute care, radiology, ultrasound, sports medicine, surgery and anesthesia.
Students are served by Shelby Public Schools with an elementary and junior/senior high school. Higher educational opportunities include Blackfeet Community College and Montana State University – Northern. MSUN offers a range of degree programs emphasizing technology and liberal arts education. The school serves four Native American reservations in addition to Montana’s smallest and largest towns.
A history of railroad, oil, cattle and ranches established an economy which still remains strong in Shelby.
Shelby is home to nine city parks and several established camping areas and RV facilities. One of the finest and most challenging golf courses in the state is located along the Maria River, just five miles from town. Hunting, hiking and fishing are all popular in Big Sky Country. Elk are numerous in the Sweet Grass Hills, while whitetail and mule deer and antelope roam the prairies. The Montana State Record Walleye was caught at Tiber Dam-Lake Elwell. Roadrunner Trail offers miles of physical challenges for all age groups. The Marias Museum of History & Art showcases area history including homesteading, mining, agriculture and Native American artifacts.
The weather in Shelby includes four season with long, severe winters and dry and hot summers. Within an arid climate, it’s not unusual to experience heat lightning, hail and even snow in July. Being located just off the Rocky Mountain Front, wind is also a constant in the area. During the coldest time of the year low temperatures are near 0, while the summer averages highs in the mid-80s.