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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Shelby in Toole County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
 

Shelby Town Hall

 
 
Shelby Town Hall Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 22, 2020
1. Shelby Town Hall Marker
Inscription.  May 1923 saw some five hundred buildings under construction in Shelby, according to the Great Falls Tribune. “Main Street resembles a freight yard, [with] lumber and material being strewn about,” it reported. The cause of the boom? The upcoming 1923 World Heavyweight Championship Fight between titleholder Jack Dempsey and challenger Tom Gibbons. Shelby’s mayor—a real estate developer, rancher, and oilman named Jim Johnson— secured the fight by advancing $100,000 of his own money and raising $200,000 more, paid as an advance to Dempsey’s manager. Johnson also convinced the city council, the Great Northern Railway, and local businesses to build the necessary infrastructure, including a forty-thousand-seat stadium (demolished within the year), miles of sidetrack (for the special trains they anticipated would deliver the fight fans), and this town hall. The city council hired Havre architect Frank Bossuot to design the hall in April 1923; the building was completed in time to serve as press headquarters for the July 4 fight. The actual event was a financial disaster—only a small fraction of the expected fans showed up—but
Shelby Town Hall Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 22, 2020
2. Shelby Town Hall Marker
The marker is on its side near the STOP sign.
the fifteen-round match went down in sports history. In later years, the hall provided space for city offices, public meetings, and even a jail. In the 1950s, residents constructed an observation tower on the building’s roof, which members of the Shelby Ground Observer Corps used from 1954 until 1959. Women made up the majority of these Cold War volunteers, who scanned the skies for enemy aircraft as part of the U.S. Air Force’s Operation Skywatch.
 
Erected by Montana Historical Society.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Air & SpaceGovernment & PoliticsSportsWar, Cold. In addition, it is included in the Montana National Register Sign Program series list.
 
Location. 48° 30.28′ N, 111° 51.301′ W. Marker is in Shelby, Montana, in Toole County. Marker is at the intersection of Montana Avenue and Main Street (U.S. 2), on the right when traveling north on Montana Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 100 Montana Avenue, Shelby MT 59474, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. 1964 Flood (within shouting distance of this marker); Rainbow Conoco (approx. ¼ mile away); The Oily Boid Gets The Woim
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(approx. 2 miles away); The Baker Massacre (approx. 3.2 miles away); Whoop Up Trail (approx. 3½ miles away).
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 19, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 30, 2020, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 30 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 30, 2020, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.
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Mar. 5, 2021