About Abilene, Texas
Established by cattlemen as a stock shipping point on the Texas and Pacific Railway in 1881, the city was named after Abilene, Kansas; the original endpoint for the Chisholm Trail. The city later became a major cattle-producing area with diversified farming. In recent years, petroleum has added great impetus to the city's economy. By 1900, 3,411 people lived in Abilene. 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 hole". By pure accident, it struck oil, not much - but enough for modest profitable production.
Abilene has become the commercial, retail, medical, and transportation hub of a 19-county area known as "The Big Country" or the "Texas Midwest". By the end of 2005, commercial and residential development had reached record levels in and around the city. The city is now bustling with new subdivisions and shopping centers in the fastest-growing areas of town.
The city is home to Dyess Air Force Base and three universities: Abilene Christian, Hardin-Simmons and McMurry.