Abilene, Texas

Abilene, Texas

Infobox Settlement
official_name = City of Abilene
settlement_type = City
nickname = The Friendly Frontier or The Key City

imagesize = 250px
image_caption = Downtown Abilene


mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Location within the state of Texas

mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name1 = Texas
subdivision_type2 = Counties
subdivision_name2 = Taylor, Jones
government_type =
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Norm Archibald
established_date =
area_magnitude = 1 E9
area_total_km2 = 286.5
area_land_km2 = 272.3
area_water_km2 = 14.2
area_total_sq_mi = 110.6
area_land_sq_mi = 105.1
area_water_sq_mi = 5.5
elevation_m = 524
elevation_ft = 1719
latd = 32 |latm = 26 |lats = 47 |latNS = N
longd = 99 |longm = 44 |longs = 44 |longEW = W
population_as_of = 2000
population_note =
population_total = 115930 (city proper)
population_density_km2 = 425.8
timezone = CST
utc_offset = -6
timezone_DST = CDT
utc_offset_DST = -5
latitude = 32°26'47" N
longitude = 99°44'44" W
website = http://www.abilenetx.com/
postal_code_type = ZIP codes
postal_code = 79600-79699
area_code = 325
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 48-01000GR|2
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 1329173GR|3
footnotes =

Abilene (pron-en|ˈæbəliːn "ABBA-leen") is a city in Jones and Taylor Counties in the central part of the U.S. state of Texas. The population was 115,930 at the 2000 census. It is the principal city of the Abilene Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a 2006 estimated population of 158,063. It is the county seat of Taylor County.GR|6 Dyess Air Force Base is located to the west of the city.

Abilene is located off Interstate 20, between exits 279 on its western edge and 292 on the east. Abilene is convert|150|mi|km west of Fort Worth, Texas. The city is looped by I-20 to the north, US 83/84 on the west, and Loop 322 to the east. A railroad divides the city down the center into north and south. The historic downtown area is on the north side of the railroad.

The fastest-growing sections of the city are growing to the southwest, along Southwest Drive, the Winters Freeway, and the Buffalo Gap Road corridor; the southeast, along Loop 322, Oldham Lane, Industrial Drive, and Maple Street; and in the northeast near the intersection of SH 351 and I-20. Many developments have begun in these three areas within the last few years. There are three lakes in the city, Lytle Lake on the western edge of Abilene Regional Airport, Kirby Lake on the southeast corner of the US 83/84 & Loop 322 interchange, and Lake Fort Phantom in Jones County north of the city.


Established by cattlemen as a stock shipping point on the Texas and Pacific Railway in 1881, the city was named after Abilene, Kansas, [cite book|title=The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States|year=1905|pages=22|author=Gannett, Henry|url=http://books.google.com/books/pdf/The_Origin_of_Certain_Place_Names_in_the.pdf?id=BqwPAAAAIAAJ&output=pdf&sig=3IVIg6u-evPGlrv4j1uDL7rQ09c] the original endpoint for the Chisholm Trail. The T&P had by passed the town of Buffalo Gap, the county seat at the time. Eventually, a landowner north of Buffalo Gap, Clabe Merchant, known as the father of Abilene, chose the name for the new town. According to a Dallas newspaper, about eight hundred people had already begun camping at the townsite, before the lots were sold. The town was laid out by Colonel J. Stoddard Johnson and the auction of lots began early on March 15, 1881. By the end of the first day, 139 lots were sold for a total of $23,810, and another 178 lots were sold the next day for $27,550.

In 1882, the town was incorporated, and Abilenians began to set their sights on bringing the county seat to Abilene and, in a three-to-one vote, won the election. In 1888, the Progressive Committee was formed to attract businesses to the area, which later became the Board of Trade in 1890. By 1900, 3,411 people lived in Abilene, and in that decade, the Board of Trade changed its name to the 25,000 club in hopes of reaching 25,000 people by the next census. However this committee failed when the population only hit 9,204 in 1910. Replacing it was the Young Men's Booster Club, which became the Abilene Chamber of Commerce in 1914.

The cornerstone was laid for the first of three future universities in Abilene, called Simmons College, in 1891, which later became Hardin-Simmons University. Childers Classical Institute followed in 1906, currently Abilene Christian University, Abilene's largest of the three. In 1923, McMurry College was founded and later became McMurry University. Much more recently, Abilene succeeded in bringing Cisco Junior College and Texas State Technical College branches to Abilene, with the Cisco Junior College headquarters being located in Abilene.

In 1940, Abilene raised the money to purchase land for a U.S. Army Base, southwest of town, named Camp Barkeley, which was at the time, twice the size of Abilene with 60,000 men. When the base closed, Life considered Abilene becoming a ghost town, but in the post-World War II boom, many servicemen returned to start businesses in Abilene. In the early-1950s, residents raised $893,261 to purchase convert|3400|acre|km2 of land for an Air Force Base. Today, Dyess Air Force Base is the city's largest employer with 6,076 employees. [ [http://myabilene.com/living_here/content.cfm?content_id=599 Abilene's Top Employers/Manufacturers] ] [ [http://myabilene.com/history/content.cfm?content_id=595 History of Abilene "From railroad tracks to vapor trails" - MyAbilene.com] ] By 1960, Abilene's population nearly doubled in 10 years from 45,570 in 1950 to 90,638. In the same year, a second high school was added, Cooper High School. In 1966, the Abilene Zoo is created near Abilene Regional Airport. The following year, one of the most important bond elections in the city's history passed for the funding of the construcion of the Abilene Civic Center and the Taylor County Coliseum as well as major improvements to Abilene Regional Airport. In 1969, the Woodson elementary and high school for black students close as the schools are integrated.Abilene became the first city in Texas to create a downtown reinvestment zone in 1982. Texas State Technical College opened an Abilene branch three years later. The 2,250-bed French Robertson Prison Unit was built in 1989, and a half-cent sales tax for economic development is created which helps Abilene diversify after the oil bust. A Cisco Junior College branch was located in the city in 1990. The Grace Museum and Paramount Theatre revitalizations in 1992 sparked a decade of downtown restoration and Artwalk was created. In 2004, Frontier Texas!, a multi-media museum highlighting the history of the area from 1780-1880 was constructed, and a new $8 million, 38-acre Cisco Junior College campus was built at Loop 322 and Industrial Boulevard. Simultaneously, subdivisions and businesses started locating along the freeway, on the same side as the CJC campus, showing a slow but progressive trend for Abilene growth on the Loop. Abilene has become the commercial, retail, medical, and transportation hub of a 19-county area more commonly known as "The Big Country," but also known as the "Texas Midwest". By the end of 2005, commercial and residential development had reached record levels in and around the city. [ [http://myabilene.com/history/content.cfm?content_id=601 Historical Highlights - MyAbilene.com] ]

Geography and Climate

Abilene is located at coor dms|32|26|47|N|99|44|44|W|city (32.446425, -99.745482),GR|1 160 miles (257 km) west by south of Fort Worth.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 110.6 square miles (286.5 km²), of which, 105.1 square miles (272.3 km²) of it is land and 5.5 square miles (14.2 km²) of it is water (4.95%).

Infobox Weather
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Dec_Precip_inch =1.1
Year_Precip_inch =23.9
source =weatherbase.com cite web
publisher= |language=


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 115,930 people, 2005 estimate placed the city's population at 120,021), 41,570 households, and 28,101 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,102.7 people per square mile (425.8/km²). There were 45,618 housing units at an average density of 433.9/sq mi (167.5/km²). The ethnic makeup of the city was 78.07% White, 8.81% African American, 0.55% Native American, 1.33% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 8.73% from other races, and 2.44% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 19.45% of the population.

There were 41,570 households out of which 34.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.0% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.4% are classified as non-families by the United States Census Bureau. Of 41,570 households, 1,709 are unmarried partner households: 1,577 heterosexual, 62 same-sex male, and 70 same-sex female households. 26.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.07.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.6% under the age of 18, 15.3% from 18 to 24, 28.9% from 25 to 44, 18.2% from 45 to 64, and 12.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 102.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,007, and the median income for a family was $40,028. Males had a median income of $28,078 versus $20,918 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,577. About 10.9% of families and 15.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.6% of those under age 18 and 9.2% of those age 65 or over.


Abilene has two school districts within the city limits, the Abilene Independent School District (AISD) and Wylie Independent School District (WISD). The local high schools are Abilene High School and Cooper High School of AISD and Wylie High School of WISD. A new building on the Hardin-Simmons University campus serves AISD high school students as a magnet school, called Holland Medical High School, as well as HSU students as the Holland School of Sciences and Mathematics. The Holland Medical High School is affiliated with Hendrick Medical Center, which is across Ambler Avenue from the university campus.

AISD has begun taking steps towards creating magnet schools for the school district. The district is currently considering locating a specialized math and science classroom at McMurry University, taught by both a university professor and AISD teacher, on the campus. A plan for the future calls for the creation of a magnet school system specializing in four areas: math, science, technology, and fine arts. The four areas will be divided among each of the four middle schools in the district. Regular curriculum will still be taught, but extra emphasis and equipment would be given based on the specific field of the school, such as extra labs for a science school, and an instrument lab for a fine arts school. [ [http://www.reporternews.com/news/2008/mar/27/attracting-magnet-schools/ Reporter-News "Attracting magnet schools"] ] Also, Bond Proposition 2 for the 2008 AISD bond election proposes a new Professional and Technology magnet school to be located at Lincoln Middle School [ [http://www.reporternews.com/news/2008/apr/12/no-headline---remodel_vs_new/ Lincoln a Magnet School?] ] , one of the oldest schools in the city, after a major renovation project.

The city is also home to several higher education units, including three religiously affiliated private universities: Abilene Christian University (ACU), Hardin-Simmons University (HSU), and McMurry University (McM), as well as the Abilene campus of Cisco Junior College (CJC), a West Texas campus of Texas State Technical College (TSTC), and American Commercial College (ACC). In addition, a new Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Pharmacy was recently built in north Abilene.

Abilene Ranked 17th Best in Nation

Abilene also ranked as the 17th city in the nation for their public education system, the highest ranked city in Texas. This award was given by "Business Outlook Magazine" in their September/October 2006 edition based on the following criteria. [ [http://www.aisd.org/news/aisd_news.asp#01 AISD News/Events Abilene Ranked 17th Best in Nation] ]

* average spending per student
* pupil/teacher ration
* high school graduation rate
* highly educated population (percentage of pop. with 2-year, 4-year, or higher degrees)
* nearness to top-rated universities


The cultural aspects of Abilene center around a mix of the local college and university campuses, the agriculture community of the surrounding area, and the numerous evangelical churches present. Abilene is also home to the restored Paramount Theatre, The Abilene Philharmonic, The Grace Museum, the Center for Contemporary Arts, The National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature, The Abilene Zoo, Frontier Texas, the 87th Armored Division Museum, Taylor County Coliseum, five libraries (3 private, 2 public), twenty-six public parks, six television stations and several radio stations, including one National Public Radio station (89.7 KACU).

Abilene has one of the only competing and performing jump rope teams in the area, known as the "Jammin' Jumpers." They formed in 1996 and have been to the National Jump Rope Championships in Walt Disney World 3 times: in 2001, 2003, and 2005. The city's main newspaper is the "Abilene Reporter-News". George Hamilton IV had a country and pop hit in 1963 with a song about the city, simply entitled "Abilene." The city also plays an important part in Richard Kelly's 2007 film Southland Tales, as well as his unproduced 1999 screenplay adaptation of Holes, both of which take place in the years following a nuclear attack on the city, where much of Kelly's family lives.

Recreation and Entertainment

Park System

The Abilene park system includes 29 parks, occupying a total of convert|1247.56|acre|km2. In addition, three athletic complexes located throughout the city are under the jurisdiction of the parks department.

The Abilene Zoo is a popular attraction in Abilene, boasting several hundred animals of hundreds of species. It hosts educational and summer programs as well as special events throughout the year. Currently, the zoo is undergoing expansion with the addition of a Black Rhino exhibit this year. Next to arrive will be South American Maned Wolves and Cougars as well as an expanded Giraffe exhibit and a wetlands exhibit. The Elm Creek backyard area will be built to house locally found animals such as armadillos, skunks, and river otters.


Prime Time Family Entertainment Center, built in 2007, has become a very popular family entertainment venue ever since its completion. The complex has several attractions including: mini-golf course, go-kart track, arcade, NASCAR(R) simulators, several bowling lanes, room rentals, laser tag course, and a restaurant, Skyline Oven & Grill.


The West Texas Fair & Rodeo, held annually for ten days in mid-September, features exhibits and amusements reflecting early days of Abilene, plus modern attractions of West Texas.

The Western Heritage Classic in early May features ranch rodeo, campfire cook-off, sheepdog trials, farrier competition, Cowboy Poets Society, a Western art show and many other activities.

The first weekend in April features Abilene Founder's Day (formerly known as Celebrate Abilene), an outdoor festival held in the historic downtown area bringing the arts, history, railroad and family entertainment.

On every second Thursday evening of the month, Artwalk is held in downtown Abilene. During Artwalk all the local museums are free, the Paramount Theatre shows an "art film", local musicians and performers busk, and several crafters and artists set up booths and sell their wares.

There are also several special-interest conventions, festivals, and shows scattered throughout the year, including the Abilene Gem and Mineral Show, the West Texas Book and Music Festival, the Abilene Gun and Knife Show, the Friends of the Abilene Public Library book sale, and the Erinshire Folk Festival. The Erinshire Folk Festival is an annual event started in 2003 and is held at Erinshire Gardens. The purpose of the festival is to spotlight Abilene-area musicians and original music. Another annual local event is the "Cruise Night" parade of classic and modern sports cars held each September.

Also of note is the annual Abilene High vs. Cooper High football game, the Crosstown Showdown, usually held near Halloween. Two of these games, in 2001 and 2002, were for the district championship and were called the “Showdown at Shotwell” games played at Shotwell Stadium.



The " [http://www.reporternews.com/ Abilene Reporter News] " is the primary daily newspaper of the city of Abilene and the surrounding Big Country area. Another common newspaper found in Abilene is the "Dallas Morning News", from the city of Dallas, Texas.




* [http://www.mymix92.com/|MIX 92.5 (KULL-FM 92.5) (AC)]
* [http://www.95Q.fm/ (KORQ-FM 95.1) (Top 40/CHR)]
* [http://www.myxl96.com/|XL-96 (KGXL-FM 96.1) (Variety Hits)]
* [http://www.the98x.com/|98.1 FM, 98X (KTLT-FM) (Alternative Rock)]
* [http://www.kbcy.com/|99.7 KBCY(KBCY-FM)( Texas' Best Country)]
* [http://www.trueoldiesabilene.com/|KFGL 100.7 FM True Oldies 100.7(Oldies)]
* [http://www.102thebear.com/|102 The Bear (KHXS-FM) (Classic Rock)]
* [http://www.power103.com/|Power 103.7 FM (KCDD-FM) (Top 40/CHR)]
* [http://www.keanradio.com/|KEAN 105.1 (KEAN-FM) (Today's Country)]
* [http://www.radioabilene.com/|STAR 106 (KKHR-FM) (Latino Mix)]
* [http://www.keyj.com/|KEYJ Rock 108 (Active/Alternative Rock)]
* KWKC 1340 AM (Talk)

Major highways

* (Buffalo Gap Road)
* (Beltway South)
*UR 18
*UR 3438

Notable people from Abilene

maincat|People from Abilene, Texas, "see this category for a complete listing."
*Randall "Tex" Cobb, prize fighter, and actor
*Charles Coody, Masters-winning professional golfer (from Stamford and Abilene) — graduate of ACUAl Pickett. [http://www.texnews.com/1998/1999/sports/star1224.html "Abilene has produced more than its share of stars,"] "Abilene Reporter-News", December 24, 1999.]
*Roy Crane, Nationally syndicated cartoonist ("Wash Tubbs", "Captain Easy", "Buz Sawyer")
*Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, country musicians
*David W. Harper (born 1961), played James Robert Walton on the CBS series "The Waltons", 1972-1981
*John Lackey, starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
*Gary D. McCaleb, mayor of Abilene, 1990-1999; vice-president of Abilene Christian University
*Billy Olson, Olympic pole vaulter (1988 Summer Olympics, U.S. team for boycotted 1980 Summer Olympics); held several world records, including first convert|19|ft|m|sing=on indoor pole vault — vaulted for AHS and ACU [http://www.acu.edu/centennial/profiles/billy_olson.html ACU Centennial: Billy Olson] ] Ted Dunnam. [http://www.acu.edu/events/news/000625-arnvaulted.html "Coaching by Hood vaulted ACU over top,"] "Abilene Reporter-News", June 25, 2000.] [http://www.trackandfieldnews.com/rankings/men/pvusranking.pdf All-Time U.S. Rankings — Men’s Pole Vault] , ranked #1 in the world for 1982.] Frank Litsky. [http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40616FF385F0C718EDDAB0894DA484D81&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics%2fSubjects%2fO%2fOlympic%20Games&oref=slogin "Billy Olson is inching ahead on way to a convert|19|ft|m|sing=on vault,"] "The New York Times", February 22, 1982, page C6, column 1 (late city final edition).]
*Ty O'Neal, Rodeo cowboy and film actor
*Terry Orr, former tight end of the Washington Redskins — played for CHS
*Fess Parker, Hardin-Simmons University. Played football at HSU before transferring to University of Texas. Starred in TV series "Daniel Boone" (1964-1970).
*Lee Roy Parnell, country musician
*J. L. "Dusty" Rhoades (1899-1978), while he resided in Abilene, founded the Texas Palomino Association, forerunner to the American Quarter Horse Association.
*Jessica Simpson, singer, actor — born in Abilene
*Ann Wedgeworth, actressimdb|0917190
*Billy Gillispie, University of Kentucky Men's Basketball coach]


External links

* [http://www.abilenetx.com/ City of Abilene Webpage]
* [http://www.abilenechamber.com/ Abilene Chamber of Commerce]
* [http://www.developabilene.com/ Abilene Economic Development Foundation]
* [http://www.abilenevisitors.com/ Convention & Visitors Bureau]
* [http://www.abilenepolice.com/ Abilene Police Department]
* [http://www.abilenefiredepartment.com/ Abilene Fire Department]
* [http://www.abilenetx.com/apl/ Abilene Public Library]
* [http://www.abilene.com/ Abilene.com]
* [http://www.myabilene.com/ MyAbilene.com]
* [http://reporternews.com/weather/ Abilene Weather]
* [http://abilenedining.com/ Abilene Dining]
* [http://www.homesinabilene.com/ Homes in Abilene]
* [http://www.dyess.af.mil/ Dyess Air Force Base]
* [http://www.wildtexas.com/parks/results.php?nearby_cities=Abilene Abilene Area Parks]
* [http://dmoz.org/Regional/North_America/United_States/Texas/Localities/A/Abilene/ Open Directory: Abilene]

Culture & Events

* [http://www.abilenetx.com/civiccenter/ Abilene Civic Center]
* [http://www.paramount-abilene.org/ Paramount Theatre]
* [http://www.taylorcountyexpocenter.com/ Taylor County Expo Center]
* [http://www.thegracemuseum.org/ The Grace Museum]
* Frontier Texas!, state-of-the-art Western history museum: [http://www.frontiertexas.com/ Frontier Texas!]
* [http://www.center-arts.com/ The Center for Contemporary Arts]
* [http://www.nccil.org/ The National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature]


* [http://www.ehendrick.org/ Hendrick Health System]
* [http://www.abileneregional.com/index_flash.php Abilene Regional Medical Center]
* [http://www.texasoncology.com/ Texas Oncology/Texas Cancer Center]

chool Districts & High Schools

* [http://www.aisd.org/ Abilene ISD Website]
* [http://www.ahseagles.com/ Abilene High School]
* [http://cougars.abileneisd.org/ Cooper High School]
* [http://www.aisd.org/schools/hollandmedical.asp Holland Medical High School]
* [http://www.wylie.esc14.net/ Wylie ISD Website]
* [http://www.wylie.esc14.net/Campuses/High%20School%20Links/Wylie%20HS%20NEW.htm Wylie High School]

Colleges & Universities

* [http://www.acu.edu/ Abilene Christian University]
* [http://www.acc-careers.com/ American Commercial College]
* [http://www.cisco.cc.tx.us/ Cisco Junior College]
* [http://fusion.erau.edu/ec/wwc/centerinfo.cfm?CODE=A2 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Dyess Campus]
* [http://www.hsutx.edu/ Hardin-Simmons University]
* [http://www.mcm.edu/ McMurry University]
* [http://www.phssn.edu/ Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing] (formerly the Abilene Intercollegiate School of Nursing)
* [http://www.abilene.tstc.edu/ Texas State Technical College]
* [http://www.depts.ttu.edu/abilene/ Texas Tech University at Abilene]
* [http://www.ttuhsc.edu/sop/news/abileneExpansion.aspx Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Pharmacy Abilene Campus]

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