Abilene, a city in west central Texas, is a financial, commercial and educational center, and the seat of Taylor County.
Situated 152 highway miles southwest of Fort Worth, in a ranching, farming, and oil region, it has diversified manufacturing, processing, and service industries. Abilene’s industrial products include wearing apparel, food, watches, brick and tile, concrete, feed, cottonseed products, structural steel, machineshop products, musical instruments, and electrical appliances. The chief agricultural products of the city’s trading area are beef cattle, wheat and feed grains, cotton, peanuts, and pecans. About 200 oilindustry firms operating in the west central Texas oil and gas district have offices in Abilene. A commercial airport serves the city.
The city has three centers of higher learning:
Abilene Christian College, HardinSimmons University, and McMurry College. The community supports the Abilene Fine Arts Museum, ACT (Abilene Community Theatre), and the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra. The Abilene Public Library moved into a new building in 1960. Near the city is Dyess Air Force Base, a permanent installation of the Strategic Air Command.
The frontier village of Buffalo Gap, first seat of Taylor County, is 12 miles southsouthwest of Abilene, and nearby is Abilene State Park. The city is the site of the West Texas Fair, the Abilene Fat Stock Show, and the West Texas Hereford Cattle Show and Sale.
Founded as the terminus of the Texas & Pacific Railroad in 1881 and incorporated in 1882, the city was named for Abilene, Kans., to which cattle herds from the area had been driven. The councilmanager form of government was adopted in 1962.