Shelbyville, Shelby County

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The road heading north from Shelbina into Shelbyville, the county seat, is lined with abandoned houses. An elevator dominates the east side of the road. Relatively isolated away from major highways, the town is still small.

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The courthouse, designed by Jerome B. Legg and completed in 1892. It is well maintained, and typical of many courthouses in America, where the lower building is in one style, and then the cupola is in another. The lower building is firmly in the Romanesque Revival.

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While the dome is much more of a Classical Revival dome, with Renaissance and Baroque elements.

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The town square has some businesses left, but many are vacant.

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As is also common in this area, the wood frame church in the Gothic Revival style is evident in Shelbyville as well.

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Much of the rest of town has small houses, in various states of repair.

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17 Comments Add yours

  1. Lisa Skelton says:

    Wish you would have shown the house that are not in disrepair that you passed on your way through. While there are dilapidated structures in town, there are many more that have been renovated and are occupied.

  2. Ashley says:

    I feel as if you left out so many nice houses and are portraying our nice quiet town as run down and abandoned. I’m disappointed in your Shelbyville segment.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Next time I’m in town I’ll have to check out that part of town; which streets are those?

  3. Nancy says:

    Did you notice the cupola of the courthouse can be seen two miles away? We used to have a blinking red light in the center of the four way stop, could see it about two miles away too. So good to see home just ahead at night. We do have many nice homes here but don’t tell the city slickers, they need to stay in the city.

    1. L.L.K. says:

      I am from Des Moines but lived in Shelbyville between the ages of 16 to 19. It was some of the best times of my life and I have two very dear friends in the area…although, due to the ‘city slickers need to stay in the city’ mentality, I was practically run out of town on a rail. All my family did was work hard, financially contribute to a depressed economy and stick to ourselves but because we weren’t born there, we weren’t welcome there. It really is a shame because Shelbyville is a sweet, little community and will always be my second home but because of people’s narrow mindedness, I couldn’t make it my permanent home. Very sad.

    2. Chris Naffziger says:

      I missed the flashing red light! I’m always happy to show the nice houses, too, but I didn’t find them!

      1. Rosie says:

        Were you even looking? You have pictures of a couple of the beautiful churches here where there just so happens to be several nice and sweet little houses near them. When you are on a mission to show only one view point of our small town, you are bound to miss some things. This is narrow mindedness.

      2. Lisa Skelton says:

        You drove right past them on your way to taking the pics of the abandoned ones.

  4. Lisa Skelton says:

    And in the interest of accurate reporting, you took a picture of the ONLY abandoned house on the highway leading into Shelbyville. The remaining structures are occupied.

  5. Sherry says:

    Apparently this reporter has blinders on, and only sees the negatively in things. He somehow missed the quaint icecream truck, and all the other nice houses on the way out of town least Bethel fared a bit better in his one sided reporting.

  6. Tom Maher - Kirkwood says:

    Quite obviously, “Rosie,” “Lisa Skelton,” and “Sherry” are unfamiliar with the work Chris has done in chronicling buildings; a shame, as he is interested in the structures only. He is also an advocate for preservation; explore this site and discover more than your biased views.

  7. Penny Barr says:

    I am not racist, and I live in this lovely town. My house is more modern and would not be of interest to a photographer looking for good old homes. Probably why he didn’t come down my street, I assure you there are many interesting stories and homes and people here proud of this area. That may appear as biased. But so is assuming everyone in a given town is the same.

  8. Susan Mann says:

    True we don’t have a very diverse population in Shelby County but my daughter is one of the few of African American decent who has grown up here. She never viewed Shelbyville as a racist town. As far as people being treated as an outsider, you just have to get to know people and let them get to know you. We are all like family and we are glad to add new family members! I hope the man doing this article is highlighting the older buildings so he can get us some grant money to do renovations and demos throughout the county 😉

  9. Jessica says:

    I grew up in New London, have family that have always lived in Shelby County. My parents got a great opportunity to move to Shelbyville my junior year of high school. It is home. Shelbyville is a wonderful town. You clearly didn’t go past the 2 main roads in town.
    As far as “city slickers” go, we welcome them. They help the community thrive during hunting seasons. I can guarantee anyone who comes here to hunt will tell you what a wonderful community it is. Next visit you need to drive thru the ENTIRE town and see the character of it. Yes, the main square is a bit run down, but there are still plenty of thriving businesses in the town. The school is by far one of the best in the state. Many great kids learn to be wonderful pillars of society there. Why didn’t you take a picture of the sign saying it is the home of Norm Stuart? Please come back and see what a great town it truly is.

    1. Jim Foster says:

      Grant money for demolition would be nice as well as eliminating the red tape involved in getting it which can add up to years. Each County should have its own landfill for this purpose. The expense of demolition often exceeds the value of the property.

  10. Serena says:

    There are nicer older homes if you travel down south Jefferson or past Kessler park going east. Or down by the pool. I could take a person all over Shelbyville showing beautiful old structures full of life and history. Some buildings my need a little love but they are far from dilapidated. My house happens to be down west 3rd street (newly renovated) but not shown in the picture taken.

  11. Charlisa says:

    I grew up in a huge beautiful brick home on the s curve. It has been being worked on( from my understanding) since then that hoise was over 100 yrs old when i lived there it is awesome on the inside. Upstairs it has an old dance floor and used to even have a record player box built in. It was a beautiful home old but character throughtout….i dont know how he missed it really…About the courthouse when i was a kid we played a game to beat each other to seeing the courthouse…my kids play the same game

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