DescriptionThough its name is of biblical origin, Abilene once was one of the unholiest and wildest towns in the West. Its reputation grew along with the city as hundreds of cowboys came to the town along the historic Chisholm Trail during the late 1800s. Nearly 3 million Texas longhorns passed through Abilene 1867-72 to be shipped east by rail. James “Wild Bill” Hickok, whose deadly accuracy with two pistols was as legendary as his icy willingness to use them, was marshal of the town in 1871.
Still, fame was not quite through with the City on the Plains; Dwight David Eisenhower, first the Supreme Allied Commander during World War II and then the 34th president of the United States, spent his boyhood years in Abilene. As president, he signed a truce to end the Korean War and passed the Federal Aid Highway Act in 1956, which created the present-day interstate highway system.
Eisenhower Park , a 57-acre tract near W. Third and Poplar sts., includes Bill Gravette Sports Complex; a swimming pool; basketball, tennis and sand volleyball courts; a skate park; picnic grounds; and landscaped gardens. The park also is the site of a fair and rodeo each year in late July-early August. Phone (785) 263-7266.
Great Plains Theatre, a live professional theater, presents Broadway plays June through December; phone (785) 263-4574. The city also is a major center for greyhound enthusiasts.
Visitor InfoAbilene Convention & Visitors Bureau 201 N.W. Second St. ABILENE, KS 67410. Phone:(785)263-2231 or (800)569-5915
Self-guiding toursA free brochure detailing a tour past the historic houses of Abilene and Dickinson County is available from the visitors bureau and from Dickinson County Heritage Center and Museum.
Things to SeeAbilene & Smoky Valley Railroad