Famous Landmarks in Abilene – Fearless’s Top Five
Let me start off with this opening comment: “Abilene started out as a rough and tough wild west town complete with saloons, bordellos and a famous wild west shoot-em up gun fight at Pine an North First Street, the gunfight left three dead one was the sheriffs son”. It’s not always been a quiet peaceful west Texas town. As a matter of fact, Abilene citizens were once considered “liars and thieves” because quoting now “Abilene stole the county seat right out from under us” that said from our neighbors in Buffalo Gap . Now, here’s my top five landmarks in Abilene.
1) T & P Depot
1101 N 1st St, One of Abilene’s most outstanding landmarks, the T&P Railroad Station was built in 1910. The construction of the Depot resulted from the efforts of locals wanting to promote Abilene.
The last passenger train, left the Depot in March 1967 with only 37 passengers. The real landmark here, in my assessment is the railroad itself. It is because of the railroad alone, that Abilene settled and stayed where we are today. Here’s more about the T&P Depot and the influence it had on Abilene.
2) The Abilene Reporter News
101 Cypress, The Abilene Reporter and editor Charles E. Gilbert printed the first edition in a tent on June 17, 1881, just months after the city was settled. The Abilene Reporter News is Abilene’s oldest business and it has it’s own “Historical Marker” right out in front of the building. Tours are given to those parties interested in seeing the old way the paper was printed over 100 years ago.
The Abilene Reporter is located not far from Charles Gilbert’s original tent at North 1st and Cypress street in downtown Abilene. Located near the new railway system that settled and helped tame this wild west town. The only printed newspaper in Abilene has always been the Abilene Reporter News.
3) The Wooten Wholesale Grocer Building
At 101 Walnut was built in 1906 and was the main store front for H. O. Wooten and his wholesale grocery business. H.O. started the business 1898 and was Abilene’s best known mercantile and local hangout for all the latest news and gossip. A fire destroyed parts of the store/warehouse in 1911 and was rebuilt the very next year.
4) Cypress Building
174 Cypress, Big surprise here and some history that not many folks know. The original Windsor Hotel was built in 1890 and is the oldest commercial building in Abilene. It featured arched openings on the second and third floors and a 16-foot high balcony with ornate iron decoration, where it’s said soiled ladies of this wild-west town could be seen perched on the balcony trying to lure cowboys and soldiers. The Cypress Building
5) The Alexander Building
At 104 Pine, Constructed in 1925 and completion was in 1927. This seven-story structure was built for Dr. James M. Alexander, Abilene’s most prominent physician. Dr. Alexander practiced for more than sixty years and built the Alexander Sanitarium, which was one of the first hospitals in West Texas. This building was the first “high-rise” in Abilene and remained that way until the construction of the Hilton that later becomes the Windsor hotel and the other high-rise the Abilene towers.
One Most Honorable Mention Camp Barkley
Although not officially in Abilene proper. Camp Barkley played an even bigger role in the settlement of our fine Key-City. City of Abilene received word from the Department of Defense in October 1940 that Camp Barkley was to be built. The camp was so big it could house 60,000 soldiers at a time. When word first came the D-O-D would only need four thousand acres, but by construction time the Army secured land options for over 170,000 acres. The only reminders of the military installation are the
Historical marker and a few roads, chimneys and foundations. The Camp Barkley land has been returned to rugged ranch land.
Find out more about Abilene landmarks: http://www.abilenetx.com/about/tour.htm