The seat of Taylor County
, Abilene is located in the state's geographical center, west of Dallas
. It lies along I-20 and US 83/84, near Lake Fort Phantom Hill.
Established in 1881, Abilene developed as a cattle-shipping center, then grew as a trading, banking and now a manufacturing city.
Today Abilene derives the lion's share of its economy from retail sales, the travel industry and the Dyess Air Force Base payroll. Attractions include the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature and Big Country Miniature Horses.
Outdoor destinations include the 529-acre Abilene State Park along Elm Creek, and Cedar Gap Farm, which offers a climate-controlled house for viewing of hummingbirds, song birds, white-tailed deer and other wildlife. Abilene is the home of Abilene Christian University and four other colleges.