Abilene History in Plain Sight by Jay Moore

By Jay Moore

Abilene historical past in undeniable Sight is a consultant to the folks, areas, and occasions that outline Abilene. It presents the excessive vantage element from that you come to understand the lives in the back of the names—Cooper highschool, Shotwell Stadium, and Maxwell golfing Course—and to satisfy those people who are commemorated through the naming of a park or road (such as Egbert Kirby, Nelson Wilson, Vera Minter, and Walker Ely). during this enticing booklet, the previous is picked up, dusted off, and given a brand new shine. As you study the tale at the back of the church, college, or university that you simply force earlier, it is going to create a connection that serves to endear Abilene to you extra deeply.This is a booklet that brings the relics of the previous out of the darkish and immediately into the place of birth on your middle.

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The past explains why the seat of Taylor County is stuck up in the right-hand corner of the county and not smack dab in the middle like most county seats. The explanation of that oddity is the explanation of Abilene herself. Or it finally dawns on you that where you see a hulking, empty, former junior high at the end of Grape Street, your parents see a high school rife with nostalgia and youth. The past offers definition for who we Abilenians have become, as individuals and as a community. And south of town, tucked into the Cedar Gap, bubbles an ancient natural spring—the one which your grandfather may have slept next to on his way to a new Texas life.

THE KIRBY’S PARK Longtime Abilene mayor and attorney, E. N. Kirby, walked into the Taylor County courthouse just before Christmas 1946 bearing a large box of Texas oranges and, just as he had done for the previous seventeen years, gratefully passed out the fruit to the county staff. “These oranges are a simple token of my affection,” Kirby exclaimed. The gesture was in keeping with Kirby’s magnanimous spirit. Egbert Newell Kirby’s native state had been Georgia, but he came west to Texas hoping to farm.

That final roll call came on June 1, 1922. Chief Clinton’s famed ivory-handled six-shooter can be seen on display in the Taylor County Law Enforcement Center. A historical plaque at South First and Chestnut chronicles the New Year tradition, which was carried on by Jinks McGee who, as a boy of eleven, stood next to Clinton for that initial celebratory trigger-pull. McGee would last fire in the New Year on December 31, 1951. A week later, McGee died at home as the annual tradition faded, too. Guitar farm and silos in the distance THE TWIN SILOS OF LAKE FORT PHANTOM Peculiarly, rising from the waters in the middle of Lake Fort Phantom Hill—and standing just yards apart—are two grain silos from the 1920s.

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