Shelbyville is a city in Bedford County,
Tennessee Tennessee (, ), officially the State of Tennessee, is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous U ...
, United States. It had a population of 20,335 residents at the 2010 census. Shelbyville, the
county seat A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or Parish (administrative division), civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Hungary and the United States. County towns have a similar fu ...
of Bedford County, was laid out in 1810 and incorporated in 1819. The town is a hub of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry and has been nicknamed "The Walking Horse Capital of the World".


Shelbyville is in Middle Tennessee on a Highland Rim limestone bluff upon the banks of Duck River, which flows around the southern and eastern sides of town. According to the
United States Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a principal agency of the Federal Statistical System of the United States, U.S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for producing data about the Americans, Amer ...
, the city has a total area of , all land.


As of the
census A census is the procedure of systematically enumerating, and acquiring and recording information about the members of a given Statistical population, population. This term is used mostly in connection with Population and housing censuses by country ...
of 2000, there were 16,105 people, 6,066 households, and 4,155 families residing in the city. The was 1,041.3 people per square mile (402.0/km2). There were 6,550 housing units at an average density of 423.5 per square mile (163.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 77.14%
White White is the lightest color Color ( American English), or colour ( Commonwealth English), is the characteristic of visual perception described through color ''categories'', with names such as red, orange (colour), orange, yellow, gre ...
, 14.98%
African American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group of Americans with total or partial ancestry from any of the Black people, black racial groups of Africa. The term ''African American'' generally denote ...
, 0.70% Asian, 0.35% Native American, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 5.02% from other races, and 1.78% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race made up 14.55% of the population. Of the 6,066 households, 31.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.0% were Marriage, married couples living together, 16.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.5% were non-families. A total of 26.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.05. In the city, the population was spread out, with 25.2% under the age of 18, 11.9% from 18 to 24, 28.9% from 25 to 44, 18.8% from 45 to 64, and 15.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.5 males. The median income for a household in the city was $27,593, and the median income for a family was $30,465. Males had a median income of $23,754 versus $16,065 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,260. About 14.4% of families and 25.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.4% of those under age 18 and 22.1% of those age 65 or over.


Shelbyville is known as "The Pencil City" because of its historical importance as a center of wood-cased pencil manufacturing. It is still a site for manufacture of writing instruments. In 1982, National Pen Corporation purchased its largest competitor, U.S. Pencil and Stationery Company. Sanford L.P., Sanford Corporation produces the Sharpie (marker), Sharpie, the world's top-selling writing instrument, in the city. It was in Shelbyville in 1991 that the world's longest pencil was produced, a plastic-cased pencil long, weighing . Other major business operations in Shelbyville include manufacturers Calsonic Kansei, Newell Rubbermaid, Cebal America, and Jostens; it is also home to a Tyson Foods facility and a distribution center for Wal-Mart, as well as several nationwide trucking businesses.


Shelbyville is at the intersection of U.S. Route 231 in Tennessee, U.S. Route 231 and U.S. Route 41A (Monteagle-Hopkinsville), U.S. Route 41A. It was the terminus of a branch line (from Wartrace, Tennessee, Wartrace), located along what is now known as Railroad Avenue, connecting with what was once known as the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway, Saint Louis, Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad.

Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration

The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration takes place each year during the 11 days and nights prior to Labor Day. It is the largest show for the Tennessee Walking Horse, during which the breed's World Grand Champion and over 20 World Champions are named. The Celebration is a festival event where more than $650,000 in prizes and awards are given. The Celebration began in 1939, and the first winner was Strolling Jim.


K-12 education

Bedford County School District operates primary and secondary schools. Shelbyville Central High School is the local public high school. After the Slavery in the United States#End of slavery, end of non-penal slavery in the United States the AME Church opened a school for African-American children. The public school system graduated its first black class in 1890. The schools for African-American children operated by the district were East Bedford School and Bedford County Training School for Negroes (a.k.a. John McAdams High School and also Harris High School for Negroes). Schools racially integrated after 1964.Lovett, Bobby L. ''The Civil Rights Movement in Tennessee: A Narrative History''. Univ. of Tennessee Press, 2005. , 9781572334434. p

Higher education

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Shelbyville is one of 46 institutions in the Tennessee Board of Regents System, the seventh largest system of higher education in the nation. This system comprises six universities, fourteen community colleges, and twenty-six technology centers. More than 80 percent of all Tennessee students attending public institutions are enrolled in a Tennessee Board of Regents institution.

Local government

The City of Shelbyville, Tennessee Government consists of an elected mayor, six member elected city council, and appointed city manager. Mayor - Wallace Cartwright Council Members: Henry Feldhaus, Marilyn Ewing, Gary Haile, William Christie, Stephanie Isaacs, Rick Overcast City Manager - Joshua W. Ray City Recorder - Lisa Smith

Public media and news outlets

Shelbyville has one news media outlet, the ''Shelbyville Times-Gazette''. It was also the former home of the ''Shelbyville Free Press''. The ''Shelbyville Free Press'' was a digital news media outlet that offered the public a liberal voice and included a multi-platform model in communications including a website,
Facebook Page, Twitter, and a United States Press Agency Site. The SFP was a free news outlet and charged no subscription or advertising fees to its readers. It is no longer active. The ''Shelbyville Times-Gazette'' is a traditional printed newspaper, which is subscription-based and charges for advertisements.

Notable people

*Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Congressman Jim Cooper. In Shelbyville, his family owns the historic River Side Farmhouse, built for his great-great-grandfather, Jacob Morton Shofner, in 1890, and the Gov. Prentice Cooper House in Shelbyville, built in 1904 for his grandfather, William Prentice Cooper, who served as the mayor of Shelville. His father, Prentice Cooper, who was born in the River Side Farmhouse, was the Governor of Tennessee from 1939 to 1945. *Sumner Archibald Cunningham, founding editor of the ''Confederate Veteran'', buried in Shelbyville's Willow Mount Cemetery. *Dickie Gardner, horse trainer *Joe Jenkins, Major League Baseball player *Harold A. Katz (1921-2012), Illinois state representative and lawyer *Sondra Locke (1944–2018), actress/director *Judy Martin (horse trainer), Judy and Joe Martin, a married couple who trained horses together *Joyce Paul (1937–2016), country music singer *Samuel Escue Tillman (1847–1942), U.S. Army officer and superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York

In popular culture

Shelbyville was featured in Miranda Lambert's video "Famous in a Small Town". The city was also profiled in the film ''Welcome to Shelbyville'', as part of the PBS documentary film series ''Independent Lens.'' The film spotlights recent demographic changes in the community, with a focus on the growing number of immigrants from Latin America and Somalia (both Somali people, Somalis and people from the Somali Bantu, Bantu minority ethnic group). Shelbyville was also featured in GADA film's ''Our Very Own (2005 film), ''Our Very Own'''' (2005 Film), directed by Cameron Watson. The film, dubbed "a love story to Shelbyville", highlighted some of the peculiar and humorous memories of Shelbyville in the 1970s. The film follows five teenagers who are determined to meet Shelbyville's own Sondra Locke. Filmed in 2004, it highlights the square, Capri Theater, Pope's Cafe, Central High School, Duck River Dam, TWHNC, and many other landmarks. Shelbyville was mentioned in the lyrics of Nashville country duo Birdcloud's song "Saving Myself For Jesus"


External links

* *
Shelbyville Mainstreet
{{authority control Shelbyville, Tennessee, Cities in Bedford County, Tennessee Populated places established in 1810 Cities in Tennessee County seats in Tennessee 1810 establishments in Tennessee