"Wild West Cow Town and Birthplace of Eisenhower" Top 5 Page for this destination Abilene by atufft
Abilene Travel Guide: 84 reviews and 196 photos
Abilene literally began in 1857 as an Overland and Butterfield stage coach stop at the end of the Smokey Hill Trail, which was created as a direct route to Colorado (in contrast to the Southern Santa Fe, and Northern Oregon trails) and today it remains a pit stop along I-70 for those traveling east and west. Timothy and Eliza Hershey built the stage coach stop home there and gave the place the Biblical name Abilene or "city of the plains". The town expanded more quickly when Joseph McCoy located stockyards there, creating the original wild west "cow town" as it marked the end of the long horn cattle driving trail from Texasl. From 1867 to 1872, some three million head of cattle were driven along the Chisholm Trail from Texas to Abilene, and then shipped by rail to eastern markets via the even larger rail center and Missouri River port at Kansas City. Wealth generated by the cattle industry stockyards and Abilene's long standing status as the western end of the railroad resulted in a commercial core of brick buildings surrounded by substantial neighborhoods of opulent homes. Abilene was for awhile the domaine of sheriff Wild Bill Hickok, who is memorialized by numerous statues further west at the town of Hays.
Like many Kansas towns, Abilene has its share of native sons and daughters who left home to do great things, and Abilene is very much like the proverbial grey and unexciting Kansas town depicted in the Wizard of Oz. But, this peaceful great plains town is actually a pleasant stop along the long and uneventful stretch of Kansas I-70. The greatest native son, Supreme Allied Commander during WWII and later President, Dwight Eisenhower has a college campus sized memorial in Abilene worth visiting. Truckers and RV drivers can easily slip in and out of town without a hassle along Buckeye Street (K-15), at Exit 275.
After the Texas Street shanty town was razed, a newer brick clad downtown developed beginning in the 1880's. Centered on... more travel advice
Unfortunately, I didn't have time to visit the 17 rooms of the very impressive Lebold Mansion. This building is... more travel advice
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