Shirley had its start in the year 1890 when the Cincinnati, Wabash and Michigan Railway was extended to that point. It was named for Joseph A. Shirley, a railroad official. The Shirley post office was originally established in Hancock County on May 28, 1891 with Benjamin F. Taylor as its first postmaster. The post office moved into Henry County on October 19, 1948, with John C. Cottrell as postmaster. Shirley Town Hall is located slightly north of the post office. The Town Hall also serves as headquarters for the police department and utility office.
What does the Town of Shirley have to offer?
Our small community has a lot of local history. Our location was the crossroads of two major railroad lines creating the community. While the rail lines are gone we are still in an unusual location. Main Street straddles Hancock and Henry Counties. We are twenty minutes from Anderson, Greenfield, and New Castle all county seats. Our proximity to Interstate 70 and Interstate 69 makes access great. We are just far enough from the state highway to keep traffic low, but access premium.
Our small town provides its own drinking water system, sanitary water system, emergency services, and street department. Our community park has 24 acres of playground, softball field, tennis courts, community building, and more.
The Hancock Henry Community Youth Center (H2CYC) is a youth program that meets after school in the park to provide children with structured learning and interaction. Director Donna Love spends many hours helping our youth grow respectful and in a loving environment.
The Shirley Police Department provides professional law enforcement to the community. Chief Brian Pryor leads 16 paid and volunteer officers to patrol, investigate and enforce the laws and ordinances of our community. This is the key to keeping our small town safe and secure. Chief Pryor also has two K-9 officer Havoc and Justice. In addition one of the reserve officers also has a K-9 officer Shadow. Our K-9's are vital keeping drugs and much more out of our community as well as surrounding counties. Chief Pryor and Havoc also work with the Indiana State Police’s Meth Suppression Unit. Chief Pryor is certified on Taser, ILEA (Indiana Law Enforcement Academy), Defensive Tactics and Firearms. This vast range of experience helps train our reserve officers at no cost to the community.
The Shirley Volunteer Fire Department provides fire protection, rescue, and basic life support ambulance transport to the community. Chief Andy Ebbert works with 25 professionally trained firefighters and EMTs to be prepared for emergencies of all kinds. The fire department is equipped with three engines, a basic life support (BLS) ambulance, a water tanker, a rescue truck and a grass truck for different needs. Being prepared to be at our best during your worst day is something we work year round for. The Insurance Services Organization has rated our department a level five. One is the best, ten is the worst. Our rating is one of the best in the two county areas we serve. This rating allows your insurance provider to know we are prepared for your emergency and in most cases leads to lower home owners insurance rates.
The Shirley Maintenance Department is a jack of all trades and master of some. Responsible for the daily operations of both the water and sewer departments Marty Ebbert and some part time help have kept things working since 1999. The maintenance department maintains your streets, signs, building maintenance, mowing, snow removal, and much more. The department has equipment to clear sewer lines, small pipe installation and leak repair, plowing & salting streets. If the town owns it Marty tries to keep it operating and is always researching ways to improve it.
The drinking water system was first built in 1907, but has had MANY upgrades. Our water is tested daily, weekly, and annually as prescribed by Indiana department of Environmental Management. Operator Jeff Lane has overseen the program for many years. The iron content is managed well at the water plant making water softeners optional for many customers. We have over forty fire hydrants and a 150,000 gallon water tower in town to meet the needs of the fire department.
The sewer department was created in the mid 1960’s. With three large lagoon ponds treating our waste water, we are able to maintain safe levels to satisfy the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Operator Steve Libby has overseen this program for several years and is sure to keep the system well in line. Our system also works as the deposit point for the Town of Wilkinson’s waste water allowing both communities to work together to be environmentally safe and keep costs to our customers as low as possible.
The community also has many churches, non for profit organizations, and museums for a community our size. We are preserving the past, working toward the future, and maintaining the needs of the community in a way that works.