Abilene is a city in and the county seat of Dickinson County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 6,844. The Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum is located in Abilene.
Abilene began as a stage coach stop in 1857, established by Timothy Hersey and named from a passage in the Bible, meaning "city of the plains". The town grew quickly when Joseph G. McCoy decided to use the town for the location of his stockyards. Abilene became the very first "cow town" of the west.
With the railroad pushing west, cattle traders soon came to use Abilene as the largest stockyards west of Kansas City. The Chisholm Trail ended in Abilene, bringing in many travelers and making Abilene one of the wildest towns in the west.
Town marshal Tom "Bear River" Smith was initially successful policing Abilene, often using only his bare hands. He survived two assassination attempts during his tenure. However, he was murdered and decapitated on November 2, 1870. Smith wounded one of his two attackers during the shootout preceding his death, and both suspects received life in prison for the offense. He was replaced by Wild Bill Hickok in April 1871. Hickock's time as marshal was short lived. While standing off a crowd during a street brawl, gambler Phil Coe took two shots at Hickock, who returned fire killing Coe, but then accidentally shot his friend and deputy, Mike Williams, who was coming to his aid. He lost his job two months later in December.
In 1880 Conrad Lebold built what the newspapers called the finest house west of Topeka. Lebold was one of the early town developers and Bankers from 1869 through 1889. The Hersey dugout can still be seen in the cellar of the Lebold Mansion.
In 1887, Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway built a branch line from Neva (3 miles west of Strong City) through Abilene to Superior, Nebraska. In 1996, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway merged with Burlington Northern Railroad and renamed to the current BNSF Railway. Most locals still refer to this railroad as the "Santa Fe".
In 1890, Dr. A.B. Seelye founded the A.B. Seelye Medical Company. Seelye developed over 100 products for the company including "Wasa-Tusa", an Indian name meaning to heal.
Abilene became home to Dwight D. Eisenhower when his family moved to Abilene from Denison, Texas in 1892. Eisenhower attended elementary school through high school in Abilene, graduating in 1909. The Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum is the burial site of President Eisenhower, his wife, Mamie, and their first born son Doud Dwight.