"The Key City"
"The Friendly Frontier"
Abilene is a city located in both Taylor and Jones Counties of Texas. The population of the entire Abilene metropolitan area is over 170,000 and is located just off Interstate 20. The city is roughly divided down the middle by the railroad, which splits the city into north and south. The historic downtown area is on the north side of town.
Early History of Abilene
Abilene was established in 1881 as a stock shipping point on the Texas and Pacific Railway. Clabe Merchant named the town after Abilene, Kansas. The town was laid out by Colonel J. Stoddard Johnson with lots being sold as early as March of 1881.
By 1900 there were 3,411 people living in Abilene. And by 1910 the population had increased to 9,204.
Simmons College was the first of the three universities in Abilene, with it’s cornerstone being laid in 1891. Simmons College later became Hardin-Simmons University. Childers Classical Institute was founded in 1906 and later became Abilene Christian University. And McMurry College was founded in 1923 – today known as McMurry University.
Growth of Abilene
In 1940 Camp Barkeley was established as a U.S. Army base in Abilene. The base alone had a population of 60,000 – twice the size of Abilene at the time. After World War II the base was closed and many of the veterans returned to start businesses in Abilene.
In the early 1950’s, the Dyess Air Force Base was built and has been one of the city’s largest employers (over 6,000 employees). By 1960 Abilene had grown to over 90,000 residents.
Over the years Abilene has strived to create a city friendly for businesses. In 1982, Abilene became the first city in Texas to create a downtown reinvestment zone. Many major projects of restoration and new construction have taken place to make the city beautiful and give tribute to those early founders and residents.
BeeHive Homes of Abilene
We pay tribute to and honor all veterans but especially those who served in the war and returned to Abilene long ago to start their families and businesses. The foundations those residents built have given rise to our wonderful city. Abilene we love you!