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Abilene, Texas Facts:
- County: Taylor
- Coverage Area (Total): 110.6 sq. miles
- Elevation: 1,719 ft.
- Population: 117,063
- Cities/Towns covered in local Names and Numbers Phone Book: Abilene, Albany, Anson, Aspermont, Avoca, Baird, Blackwell, Bradshaw, Buffalo Gap, Clyde, Crews, Goldsboro, Hamby, Hamlin, Haskell, Hawley, Lawn, Lueders, Maryneal, Merkel, Nolan, Noodle, Novice, Nubia, Old Glory, Ovalo, Potosi, Rule, Stamford, Sweetwater, Trent, Tuscola, Tye, Wingate, and Winters
The city of Abilene (named after Abilene, Kansas) was established by cattlemen as a stock shipping point on the Texas and Pacific Railway in 1881. Abilene was incorporated in 1882 and the Progressive Committee was formed in 1888 to attract businesses to the area. This committee was eventually replaced by the Abilene Chamber of Commerce in 1914.
In the late 1800s to early 1900s, Abilene's three religiously affiliated private universities came into existence: Hardin-Simmons University (founded as Simmons College in 1891), Abilene Christian University (founded as Childers Classical Institute in 1906), and McMurry University (founded as McMurry College in 1923). In 1940, money was raised to purchase land for Camp Barkeley, a U.S. Army base twice the size of Abilene with 60,000 men at the time. After the base closed in 1945, residents pulled together again in the early 1950s to raise almost $900,000 to purchase land for the establishment of Dyess Air Force Base, Abilene's largest employer today with over 13,000 military and civilian employees.
Abilene maintains a variety of attractions including: