Abilene, Kansas, offers history buffs a timeline of experiences that begins in 1857 when Timothy and Elizabeth Hersey first settled on the banks of Mud Creek.
Elizabeth named Abilene after references to Galilea, a region in the bible verse Luke 3:1. In 1867, Abilene became the western end of the Kansas Pacific Railroad, where it met The Chisholm Trail.
To get a sense of the wild west, my first stop was Old Abilene Town, a combination of replica and original buildings moved to the site that tells the story of the old west and the actual town from the cattle drive days.
You’ll find over a dozen buildings in Old Abilene Town, everything from the Merchant’s Hotel, a blacksmith shop, and a saloon.
Take the walking tour that starts in Old Abilene Town to the original town on Texas Street. The tour takes you in the footsteps of famous wild west icons that once lived and worked in Abilene like Tom “Bear River” Smith and Wild Bill Hickok.
You can ride the rails on the Abilene & Smokey Valley Railroad, where a 100-year-old steam engine pulls the train. You can have dinner on the train during one of their dinner tours. The railroad also offers the experience of an open-air car.
When you ride the train, you can explore the flour mill during the layover and purchase some flour to take home for your own baking. They’ll also ship it to your home.