This article is based on the corresponding article in another wiki. For Familypedia purposes, it requires significantly more historical detail on phases of this location's development. The ideal article for a place will give the reader a feel for what it was like to live at that location at the time their relatives were alive there. Also desirable are links to organizations that may be repositories of genealogical information..
Please help to improve this page yourself if you can.

Shelby County, Tennessee
Shelby County Courthouse
Seal of Shelby County, Tennessee
Map of Tennessee highlighting Shelby County
Location in the state of Tennessee
Map of the U.S. highlighting Tennessee
Tennessee's location in the U.S.
Founded 1819
Seat Memphis
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

784 sq mi (2,031 km²)
755 sq mi (1,955 km²)
29 sq mi (75 km²), 3.71%
 - (2005)
 - Density

1,189/sq mi (459/km²)

Shelby County is a county located in the U.S. state of Tennessee. It is the state's largest both in terms of population and geographic area. Its county seat is Memphis.[1]

Shelby County is part of the Memphis Metropolitan Statistical Area, which comprises eight counties in the three states of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas.

Shelby County was named for Governor Isaac Shelby (1750–1826) of Kentucky.

Mark Luttrell defeated Interim Mayor Joe Ford on Thursday, August 5, 2010 to became the fourth man to parlay a stint as Shelby County sheriff into a county mayoral election triumph.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 784 square miles (2,030 km²), of which 755 square miles (1,954 km²) is land and 29 square miles (75 km²) (3.71%) is water. The lowest point in the state of Tennessee is located on the Mississippi River in Shelby County (just outside the Memphis city limits), where it flows out of Tennessee and into Mississippi

Parks and recreation[]

  • Shelby Farms
  • Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park
  • T.O. Fuller State Park
  • Overton Park
  • Lichterman Nature Center
  • Memphis Parks and Recreation Centers


International Festivals and Attractions[]

  • Memphis in May
  • Graceland
  • Memphis International Raceway
  • Memphis International Airport
  • Memphis Redbirds
  • Mud Island
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Beale Street
  • Gibson Guitar Factory Tour
  • National Civil Rights Museum
  • Orpheum Theatre
  • Pink Palace Museum
  • Botanic Gardens
  • Memphis Zoo

Adjacent counties[]

Law and government[]

County government is headed by an elected county mayor and a thirteen-member county commission that is elected from five districts.[2] The members of the county commission serve four-year terms. Other elected officials in Shelby County include the sheriff, the chief law enforcement officer, trustee, chief tax collector, and assessor, the chief property appraiser.[3]

The government has an annual budget of $1.1 billion and 6,000 employees.


  • Mark Luttrell is the current Mayor and former Shelby County Sherriff
  • Joe Ford served as Interim Mayor in 2009
  • A.C. Wharton 2002-2009 (Current Memphis City Mayor)
  • Jim Rout 1994-2002[4]


Age pyramid Shelby County[5]

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 897,472 people, 338,366 households, and 228,735 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,189 people per square mile (459/km²). There were 362,954 housing units at an average density of 481 per square mile (186/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 48.56% Black, or African American, 47.34% White, 0.20% Native American, 1.64% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.20% from other races, and 1.02% from two or more races. 2.60% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 338,366 households out of which 34.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.80% were married couples living together, 20.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.40% were non-families. 27.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.18.

Scenic view in Shelby Farms park

In the county, the population was spread out with 28.20% under the age of 18, 9.70% from 18 to 24, 31.10% from 25 to 44, 21.00% from 45 to 64, and 10.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 91.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.80 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $39,593, and the median income for a family was $47,386. Males had a median income of $36,932 versus $26,776 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,856. About 12.90% of families and 16.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.90% of those under age 18 and 13.30% of those age 65 or over.

Shelby County Courthouse[]

The Shelby County Courthouse, located in Memphis on Adams Avenue between North 2nd and North 3rd Streets, was designed by James Gamble Rogers and completed in 1909. This Neo-classic pile features a long portico topped by a cornice supported by massive Ionic columns. The ambitious sculptural program designed by J. Massey Rhind includes the pediment groups, Canon Law, Roman Law, Statutory Law, Civil Law and Criminal Law. Female allegorical figures can be found on the north facade cornice representing Integrity, Courage, Mercy, Temperance, Prudence and Learning. Flanking the main entrances are over life sized seated figures embodying Wisdom, Justice, Liberty, Authority, Peace and Prosperity. It is also featured in the movie The Silence of the Lambs as the place where Dr. Hannibal Lecter escapes custody. It is by far the largest courthouse in the state.

Cities and towns[]

  • Arlington
  • Bartlett
  • Collierville
  • Germantown
  • Lakeland
  • Memphis
  • Millington

Major highways[]

  • I-22.svg Interstate 22
  • I-40.svg Interstate 40
  • I-55.svg Interstate 55
  • I-69.svg Interstate 69
  • I-240.svg Interstate 240
  • US 51.svg U.S. Highway 51
  • US 61.svg U.S. Highway 61
  • US 64.svg U.S. Highway 64
  • US 70.svg U.S. Highway 70
  • US 72.svg U.S. Highway 72
  • US 78.svg U.S. Highway 78
  • US 79.svg U.S. Highway 79
  • Tennessee 14.svg State Route 14 (Tennessee)
  • Tennessee 300.svg State Route 300 (Tennessee)
  • Tennessee 385.svg State Route 385 (Tennessee)
  • Secondary Tennessee 388.svg State Route 388 (Tennessee)
  • Sam Cooper Boulevard
  • Secondary Tennessee 175.svg State Route 175 (Tennessee)
  • Secondary Tennessee 177.svg State Route 177 (Tennessee)


Almost all areas in Shelby County that are outside of the city of Memphis are zoned to schools operated by Shelby County Schools. Schools in Memphis are operated by Memphis City Schools.

Some portions of unincorporated Shelby County are zoned to Memphis City Schools from kindergarten through 12th grade. Some portions of unincorporated Shelby County are zoned to Shelby County Schools for elementary and middle school and Memphis City Schools schools for high school.

Memphis is also home to Southern College of Optometry, the University of Memphis and Rhodes College.

See also[]

  • County named after Isaac Shelby
  • Davies Manor - oldest home in Shelby County
  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Shelby County, Tennessee
  • Shelby County Schools (Tennessee)
  • Shelby County Sheriff's Office (Tennessee)


Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^ Shelby County Commission, Shelby County Government website
  3. ^ Shelby County Topic Page, News about the Shelby County government - The Commercial Appeal
  4. ^ Haslam Recruits Former Shelby County Mayor to Leadership Team
  5. ^ Based on 2000 census data
  6. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links[]

Coordinates: 35°11′N 89°53′W / 35.18, -89.89

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Shelby County, Tennessee. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.