Shelly, Norman County, Minnesota
The following was taken from the "The History of Norman County, Minnesota Centennial Edition 1958"
The first sign that there was to be a town at Shelly was in the fall of 1896. That was the year the Great Northern Railway was extended from Halstad to Crookston. The village and the township were both named for John Shely, who settled here in 1870. Shely, according to Turner and Semling's "History of Clay and Norman Minnesota" bought out land from the early French trappers who were the first people of white descent to locate in Norman county. Shely was originally a trapper. He hauled supplies from Ft. Snelling for the government to forts throughout the country before there were any settlements. He was born in Vermont in July, 1846, of Irih parentage and came to Minnesota in 1854 with his father. He came to this county about 1870 as a trapper and filed on a claim near Shelly in 1871. Other early settlers of Shely township were L.H. Gordon, John Redland and O.P. Ojen in 1871.
Some of the early business men were: Ostby and Johnson, who had hardware
and implements; A. O. Anderson, general merchandise; Olson Bros., implements;
Button Brothers and Moen, general merchandise; Jacob Wilson, hardware; O. S.
Oberson, meat market; Ed. Nelson, shoe and harness shop; Charley Miller,
hotel; Joe Johnson, soft drinks; Peter Peterson, harness and shoe shop; Charley
Miller, hotel; Christ Hawkins, drug store.
In the fall of 1896 the bank at Caledonia, North Dakota, was moved to
Shelly, and then known as “State Bank of Shelly.”
The first officers were John S. Tucker, president; E. N. Tucker,
vice-president; J. W. G. Anderson, cashier.
On October 19, 1896, the Shelly post office was established.
It was housed in the Button Bros. and Moen building, which was later
known as the O. O. Odegaard store, and is now (1958), occupied by the Peterson
Biddick Produce Co.
Sven Moen was
appointed postmaster November 5, 1896.
Sven, as postmaster was Peter Moen, who served from 1910 to June 1922 when he
Henry Megrund was the next
postmaster and served until October 31, 1955.
The present postmaster is Manfred Folstad.
A livery barn was operated by Lovsness &
Horses were used for transportation.
This changed hands several times; in the later years of its existence it
used autos for transportation.
On July 29, 1902,
incorporated as a village.
president of the first council was T. S. Anderson. The Trustees were Sven Moen,
P.O. Troseth, and L. M. Hanson.
Recorder was Peter Moen, Treasurer was J. W. G. Anderson and the Constable was
Gust Borg. Ordinances were passed and
bonds of officers were set.
were no modern improvements.
streets were lighted by kerosene lamps set on top of 10-foot poles, and there
were wooden sidewalks.
has all modern improvements, including a shelterbelt, which has received wide
The first newspaper was the Shelly Signal established in 1898 by Matt
Johnson and Peter Herbrandson.
1909 it was sold to the Halstad Reporter.
In 1905 a disastrous fire destroyed about half of the business section.
Sven Moen’s grocery and post office, Aarestad Bros. furniture store,
Hanson Bros. hardware, O. S. Oberson meat market, and the Efteland hotel all
Some doctors of the past are: Cleveland, Schroeder,
Budworth, Nelson, Juliar, Vistaunet, Bowman, Scodel.
is no doctor now.
I.O.G.T. hall was located on the west side by a Good Templar Lodge.
The Shelly Co-operative creamery was started in 1911. The first operator was Axel Davidson; the present one is
A church was built in 1912, then known as Shelly Norwegian Lutheran.
The pastor was A. Megrund.
has been enlarged twice and is now known as the Shelly Congregation after the
Marsh River church burned.
In 1917 the Farmers’ State Bank was established.
Its first officers were: G. O. Hage, president; P.M. Ringdal,
vice-president; Tom Morken, cashier.
Farmers’ State Bank was taken over by the State Bank of Shelly.
The following is taken from “This Is Our Story, Shelly, MN 1897-1997”
The history of the town of Shelly begins with the coming of the railroad in 1896. On September 22, 1896, with the bridges completed, the Great Northern Company brought in the track-laying machine. This machine made it possible to lay the tracks quickly, at a rate of two miles per day. Anxiously, families watched as the tracks were laid. Within four days, Shely had its new tracks of steel.
When the tracks were completed, railroad sidings or station stops were
set up every six or seven miles.
sidings were places where the trains would stop to accommodate the needs of area
farmers. When the track went through Section 18, a siding was
It was marked “Shelly,”
and spelling with a double “l” to distinguish it from the Shely Township.
An old boxcar was set up as a depot or a stopping place where farmers
could bring produce and pick up supplies.
On Nov. 17, 1896, Enock Johnson (Efteland) and his wife, Helene, had
their land on the west side of the railroad tracks platted into a townsite.
The original town site was on the west half of the southeast quarter of
Section 18, Township 146, Range 48.
had the streets surveyed square with the section line. On December 29, 1897, Lars Mauritson and his wife, Lisabeth,
platted their land on the east side of the railroad, the east half of the
southeast quarter of Section 18.
became Mauritson’s First Addition.
thought the streets should be surveyed square with the railroad tracks and
because the railroad tracks ran in a northeasterly direction through Section 18,
Shelly ended up with a crooked “Main Street.”
As soon as the village was platted, town site lots were being sold.
The first building in Shelly was a general store built by Button Bros and
Moen, west of the tracks.
general store housed the Shelly Post Office, which was established October 19,
Asser Hoie’s blacksmith
shop and A. O. Anderson’s general store had been operating south of the
were moved into the platted lots.
blacksmith shop was moved to the west side of the present day elevator.
The store would be occupied by the hardware firm of Ostby and Johnson,
and A. O. Anderson would build a new store.
Other businesses followed in quick succession: William Cooper’s Hotel
and Restaurant, Shelly Elevator, Livestock and Lumber Company, Jacob Wilson’s
Hardware, a meat market operated by Efteland, Hoiland, and Redland and a livery
stable run by Hetland, R. Vigen, and S. Lausness. During the winter months, some of the businesses changed
The meat market was sold to
Oberson and Olson, the Efteland Hotel opened and G. F. Redland started a
Within the next few
years, several more businesses were established: St. Anthony and Dakota
Elevator, Northwestern Elevator, James T. Hansen Hardware, E. Dybing and E.
Quarnstrom Meat Market, S. O. Stola Feed Mill and both Samuel Little and J. R.
Haga opened general stores.
Larson became a constable and G. Orsland was a justice of the peace. Lots and businesses changed hands frequently as early
settlers sought to find which business was best suited for them.
Walking down Main Street, there was no question about it –Shelly was
not going to be just another passing settlement.
The train whistles brought the Shelly businessmen and early residents to
their door, as they waved to the train crew.
popping up over night, had hitching posts inviting everyone to stop by for a
It would not be long before
wide wooden sidewalks lined the streets, with narrower ones stretching out into
Then the streets
would soon be lighted by kerosene lights lit at dusk by a city lamplighter.
For now, the streets left a little to be desired.
After a rain, they became almost impassable with deep ruts.
Wagon wheels would sink deep as horses struggled to pull the wagons
along, but friends and neighbors were always willing to help. They had known
when they had immigrated here, that starting a new life in a new land was not
going to be easy.
They knew they
would need to work hard, and along with their hard work, they had established
The Norwegians lovingly
called it, “Okka By” (our town) –a small town with a big heart.
Yes! Shelly was here to stay!