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Shelby is a village in Polk County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 690 at the 2000 census. The center of population of Nebraska is located near Shelby . Shelby lies along the north side of U.S. Highway 81 near the eastern edge of Polk County. It is six miles (10 km) east of Osceola, and just 17 miles (27 km) south and three miles (5 km) west of Columbus.
Shelby, originally named Arcade, was established in 1880. In the winter of 1880-81 postal authorities objected to the name Arcade due to confusion with the town of Arcadia, Nebraska, in Loup County. In search of a new name for the settlement, the people chose Shelby, after the name of an official with the Omaha and Republican Valley Railway (a branch of the Union Pacific). The land which Arcade was established on was owned by Gilbert Van Vorce and Peter Matter. Seeing a need for a trade center in the area these two men gave the railroad company half interest in their property and the town was established. After the railroad retained its 200 feet (61 m) on each side and closest to the tracks, eight blocks were located on each side parallel to the tracks. The original streets are still present and retain the names of Walnut, Elm, Chestnut, Pine, Cherry, and Oak.
In 1880 the town of Arcade boasted a population of 93 with businesses to include a drug store, hardware store, hotel, boot and shoe shop, livery stable, and physician.