Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad
Copyright © 2011-
Abilene, KS was founded in 1857 when Timothy and Elizabeth Hersey settled in a dugout on the west bank of Mud Creek. Mrs. Hersey named the new town “Abilene” after a bible verse, Luke 3:1, which described a region in Galilea.
The Kansas Pacific Railroad arrived in Abilene in 1867. Joseph G. McCoy established a hotel and stockyard in Abilene shortly thereafter and the Chisholm Trail was established that same year bringing thousands of longhorn cattle to Abilene between 1867 and 1872 to be loaded on railcars and shipped to Eastern markets. The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad and the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad both arrived in Abilene in 1887. All three rail lines remain, although under different ownership, and depots for each railroad still exist. Famous lawmen Tom Smith and Wild Bill Hickok once served the city of Abilene.
Charles Wallace Parker operated an amusement company in south Abilene manufacturing hand-
Dr. Alfred Barns Seelye incorporated the A.B. Seelye Medical Company in 1897. Seelye developed over 100 products for the company. His patented medicines were sold from fancy wagons over a 14 state area.
Cleyson Leroy Brown, the son of a grist mill owner, first founded an electric utility and then, in 1899, the Brown Telephone Company, which eventually became known as United Telecommunications in 1972 and after the acquisition of Sprint/GTE became known as Sprint in 1992.
Abilene’s primary claim to fame, though, is as the “town that raised a president”. President Dwight David Eisenhower was raised in Abilene and attended Abilene schools. He and his wife, Mamie, are buried in the Place of Meditation at the Eisenhower Center in Abilene.
Explore the Chisholm Trail!
The Heritage Center Museums
(Dickinson County Historical Museum)
(Museum of Independent Telephony)
(C. W. Parker Carousel)
412 S. Campbell Street
Old Abilene Town
100 SE Fifth Street
(Patent Medicine Museum)
1105 N. Buckeye
Abilene Visitors Center & Gift Shop
(In the historic Union Pacific Depot)
201 NW Second Street
Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum
and Boyhood Home
200 SE Fourth Street
Greyhound Hall of Fame
407 S. Buckeye
Great Plains Theatre