The city of Abilene was started in 1881. A man called Clabe Merchant named it after a city in Kansas. A lot of people came to live in the city and it soon became very important - some people called it the 'Future Great City of West Texas.' A US Army base was built there in 1940, but it was closed in 1945. After the base closed, it got changed to the Dyess Air Force Base. A lot of people work in the Air Force base today.