About Shelby County
Shelby County was established by act of the first session of the Alabama Legislature and the Alabama Territory House of Representatives on Feb. 7, 1818. The county was named for Isaac Shelby, a soldier-governor from Kentucky, who came to settle there after the Creek War ended. The courthouse stood on a site somewhere near the present town of Pelham, then known as Shelbyville. In 1826, the courthouse was moved to Columbiana, the center of the county, where it remains today.
Montevallo, a city in Shelby County, is at the center of Alabama. The University of Montevallo’s main residence hall boasts a star marking the geographic center of the state. The star, surrounded by bricks, is noticeable to any passerby. But, in 1955, the Montevallo Chamber of Commerce placed a monument in a cemetery one mile out of Montevallo to represent the center of Alabama.
Shelby is the fastest growing county in Alabama and the sixth most populated in the state. Current population is around 150,000 with 54.8 percent urban and 47 percent rural. Ninety-one percent of the population is white and 9 percent black. There are 41 educational outlets in the county reaching more than 20,000 students. More than 80 percent of Shelby County’s population has a high school diploma.
Major agricultural crops are cotton, timber and beef turfgrasses and greenhouse crops.. Horses are also raised in the county. Tourist attractions include Oak Mountain Amphitheatre, Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum, 4-H Center, Shelby County Iron Works, Lay Lake, Oak Mountain State Park, Cahaba River Wildlife Management and the Smith-Harrison Museum. This museum has the largest collection of George and Martha Washington memorabilia outside of Mt. Vernon.
The Shelby County Extension Office has three full time county staff and three Regional Extension Agents housed in Shelby County. Numerous volunteers help with various Extension programs. Some of the more popular Extension programs are Master Gardener, Master Cattlemen and 4-H.