34 photos
Abilene, Kansas

Located on the north bank of the Smoky Hill River, about 95 miles west of Topeka, Abilene is the county seat and largest city of Dickinson County. Though best known as the Queen of Kansas Cowtowns, Abilene already existed for a decade before the cattle came to town.

First settled in 1858, it was named by Timothy and Eliza Hersey from a passage in the Bible, meaning "city of the plains." The first terminus of and later a station on the Butterfield Overland Stage Line, the Hersey's secured a contract with the company to feed the passengers and employees. The establishment, consisting of two log houses, a log stable and corral for horses, advertised to the west-bound traveler: "the last square meal east of Denver."

The next structure built was a dwelling known as "the Hotel," owned by C. H. Thompson, and located on the east bank of Mud Creek. More homesteaders began to come to the area and among one of them was a man commonly known as "Old Man Jones," who erected a log house which he turned into a store, selling some limited supplies, but mostly whiskey.

Abilene, KS - Brookville Hotel Restaurant

Abilene, KS - Brookville Hotel Restaurant

Abilene, KS - Cowtown Days, 1874

Abilene, KS - Cowtown Days, 1874

Abilene, KS - Great Plains Theatre

Abilene, KS - Great Plains Theatre

Abilene, KS - Kirby House Restaurant

Abilene, KS - Kirby House Restaurant

Abilene, KS - Lebold Mansion

Abilene, KS - Lebold Mansion

Abilene, KS - Loading Cattle, 1867

Abilene, KS - Loading Cattle, 1867

Abilene, KS - Loading Texas Cattle

Abilene, KS - Loading Texas Cattle

Abilene, KS - Old Town

Abilene, KS - Old Town

Abilene, KS - Old Town - 2

Abilene, KS - Old Town - 2

Abilene, KS - Old Town - Church & Wagon

Abilene, KS - Old Town - Church & Wagon

Abilene, KS - Old Town Alamo Saloon

Abilene, KS - Old Town Alamo Saloon

Abilene, KS - Old Town Alamo Saloon Boot

Abilene, KS - Old Town Alamo Saloon Boot

Abilene, KS - Old Town Barn

Abilene, KS - Old Town Barn

Abilene, KS - Old Town Barn Door

Abilene, KS - Old Town Barn Door

Abilene, KS - Old Town Bill Hickok's Cabin

Abilene, KS - Old Town Bill Hickok's Cabin

Abilene, KS - Old Town Blacksmith

Abilene, KS - Old Town Blacksmith

Abilene, KS - Old Town Buildings

Abilene, KS - Old Town Buildings

Abilene, KS - Old Town Buildings - 2

Abilene, KS - Old Town Buildings - 2

Abilene, KS - Old Town Buildings - 3

Abilene, KS - Old Town Buildings - 3

Abilene, KS - Old Town Buildings - 4

Abilene, KS - Old Town Buildings - 4