--Ghostly ruins of fort Phantom Hill near Abilene.
Established by cattlemen as a stock shipping point on the Texas and Pacific Railroad in
1881, the city is named for Abilene, Kansas. Later Abilene, Texas became a major cattle
producing area on its own with diversified farming.
In more recent years oil has added great impetus to the
When the city celebrated its centennial in 1981, the
city set up a demonstration oil-drilling rig on the county fairgrounds - just to
illustrate the techniques of "making a hole." Suddenly, By pure accident, it struck oil!!! Not much, but
enough for modest, profitable production.
Cultural aspects influenced by Abilene Christian Univ.,
Hardin-Simmons Univ., and Mcmurry Univ., branches of Cisco Junior College and Texas State
Technical College; community theater and a philharmonic association and fine arts
The West Texas Fair, ten days in mid-Sept., features exhibits and
amusements reflecting the early days of Abilene, plus modem attractions of West Texas, The
Western Heritage Classic in early May features ranch rodeo, campfire cook-off, sheep dog
trials, farrier competition, Cowboy Poet's Society, Western art show, and many other
activities recalling early Western heritage. The third weekend in April features an arts
festival, "Celebrate Abilene!", in the downtown area.
Abilene lies on U.S. 84, a segment of the Ports to Plains Highway
connecting the state's heartland to coastal Dorts. as well as on U,S. 83, 277 and 1-20.
Abilene State Park-
621-acre park near Lake Abilene; camping, trailer facilities,
picnicking, shelters, swimming pool, rest rooms and showers, hiking and fishing. Large
grove of some 4,000 native pecan trees, now a favorite picnic area, was once a popular
campground for Comanche Indians. About 15 miles southwest on F.M. 89. Admission.
One of the five largest zoos in the state; animals are
displayed in modern areas simulating their natural habitat.
Discovery Center is a "zoo within a zoo," housing comparative
habitat displays of invertebrates, fish, reptiles, birds, and small mammals from the
Southwestern U.S, and Africa. The zoo is in Nelson Park, about 3 miles east of city on
Texas 36 across from West Texas Fairgrounds, Open daily 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. (7 p.m. holidays
and weekends during summer). Admission.
See BUFFALO GAP.
Center for Contemporary Arts-
Working artists have studios displaying rotating exhibits.
Open Tues. -Sat. 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Closed Sunday. 220 Cypress,
Dyess Air Force Base-
Home of the Air Combat
Command's historic 7th Wing. Currently flies B-1B Lancers and
C-130H Hercules. The base's Linear Air Park contains 31 aircraft from World War II to the
present. Aircraft displayed along Dub Wright Blvd., main base thoroughfare. Open during
daylight hours. Visitors must stop at main entrance for a temporary pass. (Note: Base may
be closed temporarily during occasional military exercises.) For extensive base
tours to flight lines, reservations must be prearranged with Public Affairs Office,
915/696-5609. Loop 312 south of Business Loop 1-20 / U.S. 84.
Grace Museum -
The former Grace Hotel is listed on the National Register of
Historic Places and serves as home to three museums:
Art Museum - Features traveling exhibits from around the world and works
from the Museum's permanent collection
Historical Museum - Recreates life in West Texas from 1910 to 1945. One
section highlights Camp Barkeley, a W.W.II Army Camp.
Children's Museum - Hands-on exhibits explore art, science, technology
The Grace offers symposiums, family activities, lectures and a wide variety of children's
programs. The restored ballroom, glassed-in loggia, roof-terrace and enclosed brick
courtyard are available for rental.
Hours: Tues., Wed., Fri., Sat. --- 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday --- 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Sunday --- 1 to 5 p.m. Closed Monday & Holidays
Admission: Adults---$3; Senior Citizens, Students, Military---$2; Ages 4 to 12---$1; Free
admission on Thursdays, 5 to 8:30 p.m.