Background on Abilene, Texas
Abilene is in both Taylor and Jones County which is part of West Texas. The population here as of 2015 was just under 122,000. Abilene is located a little more than 150 miles West of Fort Worth, Texas. According to the United States Census Bureau, Abilene is a total of 110.6 square miles in size. Roughly 5.5 miles of that is water. Abilene is the principal city of the Abilene Metro Statistical Area. Abilene was established in 1881 and incorporated in 1883. This city was actually named after Abilene, Kansas when it was first founded. The history of the early settlers here is quite interesting. According to reports from a Dallas newspaper, nearly 800 people camped at the townsite before lots in the town went up for sale. Then on March 15th, 1881 the auction of lots began. On the first day nearly 140 lots were sold totaling approximately $24,000. The next day another 178 lots were sold for a total of $27,550. Fast forward to the year 1900 and there were around 3,400 people living here. During that decade the Board of Trade decided to change its name to the 25,000 Club. The reason for this was because Abilene hoped to reach 25,000 residents by the next census. The growth between 1881 and 1900 was showing that this area was highly sought after and likely going to reach that number. Sadly, when the next census took place in 1910 the population here was just 9,200. By the year 1960 the population here was more than 90,000.
Climate in Abilene
Abilene has a humid subtropical climate. That means that the summers tend to be hot and humid and the winters tend to be very short, cold and often dry. The summer months can see daily average temperatures in the high 80’s with a low of about 74 degrees. Between the end of May until mid-September you can expect it to be hot and very humid but not oppressive like in other cities in Texas. The cooler months are from the end of November until the end of February when the daily average high is a very comfortable 64 degrees. The low for this time of year is around 35 degrees. The winter months do tend to get a little chilly but most people that live here do not seem to mind that since the summers offer up plenty of warmth and lasts longer than the cold season here.
Economy in Abilene
Back when Abilene was founded the economy was supported by livestock and agricultural. But over time the economy here has since shifted and is now strongly supported by the government, education, healthcare and manufacturing. The petroleum industry is also a prevalent industry here as well. The top employers here in Abilene according to a 2014 poll are as follows. Dyess Air Force Base employs 5,400, Hendrick Health System employs just under 3,000, Abilene Independent School District employs more than 2,400 people, the Abilene State Supported Living Center employs almost 1,500, the City of Abilene employs 1,200, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice employs almost 1,200, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas Claims Center employs a little more than 1,000, Abilene Christian University employs 850 people, the Abilene Regional Medical Center employs 760 and Taylor Count employs almost 600.
Points of Interest in Abilene
-The Abilene Zoological Gardens is one of the main attractions here in Abilene. This zoo is relatively small coming in at just 16 acres. This zoo has more than 1,000 animals that span more than 250 different kinds of species. This zoo is funded by both the City of Abilene as well as the Abilene Zoological Society. In the very near future this zoo is going to expand to include an African project that is going to be built on 24 acres of undeveloped land that the zoo owns just North of the current zoo. This expansion is going to more than double the size of the current zoo and cost an estimated $20 million to construct.
-The Grace Museum features five different art galleries that have rotating art exhibitions as well as a permanent collection that can be viewed year-round. This museum has a history gallery that features artifacts from Abilene, Taylor County and West Texas. This museum showcases the rich history of Abilene and its surrounding areas. There is also an interactive gallery for children if they want to immerse themselves in the culture of Abilene.
Abilene is a portion of Texas that is full of history and culture as well as a booming economy. Make sure to check this area out when thinking of moving to Texas!