Abilene ăb´ĭlēn [key]. 1 City (1990 pop. 6,242), seat of Dickinson co., central Kans., on the Smoky Hill River inc. 1869. It was (1867–71) a railhead for a large cattle-raising region extending SW into Texas. Millions of cattle followed the Chisholm Trail into the cow town's stockyards prior to shipment. Wild Bill Hickok was Abilene's marshal for a time. The city, a still shipping point for a wheat and cattle region, has feed and flour mills. Abilene was the boyhood home of President Dwight D. Eisenhower the Eisenhower Center includes his old family homestead, a museum, the Eisenhower Library, and his grave. 2 City (1990 pop. 106,654), seat of Taylor co., W central Tex. inc. 1882. Buffalo hunters first settled there the town, which was founded in 1881 with the coming of the railroad, was named after Abilene, Kans. Abilene grew as a shipping point for cattle ranches and has become the financial, commercial, and educational center of a large part of W Texas. The city's diversified manufactures include electronic, aircraft, and missile components oil-field and agricultural equipment food and dairy products clothing metals and musical instruments. Livestock (cattle, sheep, and poultry) agriculture (cotton, wheat, sorghum, and hay) and minerals (oil, natural gas, caliche, sand, gravel, and clays) are important to the area's economy. Regional petroleum industry headquarters are in Abilene, and Hardin-Simmons Univ., Abilene Christian Univ., and McMurry College are there.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. Political Geography

Browse By Subject