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Dickinson County, KS

Dickinson CountyHorace Greeley made the statement, "it takes three log houses to make a city in Kansas, but they begin calling it a city as soon as they stake the lots."


During Dickinson county's early years, three log houses were adequate to create a town. A small simple structure or two were given a name, a corner of which was set apart as a post office. In many instances a limited inventory of staple tiems were stocked for sale to the sparse public. Quite often, the local blacksmith shapened plow shears and shod horses for his neighbors. Numberous such "towns" have disappeared without a trace and lie buried with the hopes of the promoters.


Dickinson county has no pre-Territorial history, as the first settlement that took place on Chapman Creek in 1855, and was made by a family named Lenon. Dickinson county, like most all other counties in Kansas, away from the bank of the Missouri River, suffered under that erroneous impression that it was a country unfit for human habitation, and as a consequence, settlers came in very slowly. At the time the county was organized, in 1857, there was not over a half dozen families in the county. The county was named after Daniel S. Dickinson, United States Senator from New York.


At that time, prior, and for some time following, the wide valley of the Smoky and the extensive level plains of the prairie formed the choice hunting grounds of the various Indian tribes located to the north, south, east and west of what is now Dickinson County. The country abounded in deer, elk, buffalo, antelope and all other kinds of wild game, and even for years after white settlement commenced, these kings of the prairie roamed the plains of Dickinson County in countless numbers.


Abilene established its reputation early as center for the cattle business where a railhead was established that shipped cattle herded up the western cattle trails from Texas to the eastern buyers. Although the cattle shipping monopoly ceased in 1871 when railroads extended south, the businesses built up during the ten years of booming trade continued to keep Abilene a top retail center in the county. Today, antiques and historical museums and collections make Abilene an interesting community to explore.


Herington and Enterprise welcome you to explore the history of their communities, as well, which developed from those similar "log cabin" towns, and have managed to grow into choice areas to visit and maybe "stake your claim!"

Explore Dickinson County

The Heritage Center Museums

The Museum depicts life on the plains during the American pioneer movement & westward expansion periods. Exhibits include Indians, pioneers, railroad, agriculture, Victorian and cowtown eras.

Abilene, KS Museums

Greyhound Hall of Fame

Abilene, Kansas, also known as the Greyhound Capital of the nation, hosts the Greyhound Hall of Fame which offers the entire family a thorough and exciting introduction to the Greyhound, the sport, and its long and colorful history. The history of Greyhounds from 5,000

Abilene, KS Halls of Fame

Museum of Independent Telephony

The Museum of Independent Telephony shares a building with the Dickinson County Historical Society and Museum. It was in Abilene that Cleyson L. Brown, a local youth, built and operated a telephone exchange in 1898

Abilene, KS Museums

Herington Lakes

Herington has two city lakes just one mile apart, great for picnicking, boating, skiing, swimming. Along with trophy bass, the city lake is also the best small-lake walley fishing in the State of Kansas. There are full camping facilities with electric hook-ups, boat ramps, and swimming. The "old"

Herington, KS Recreation

The Lebold Mansion

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this twenty-three room Victorian mansion was built in 1880 by Conrad H. Lebold. The limestone was quarried from nearby Russell County. Conrad Lebold was a local banker, realtor, politician, and Mayor of Abilene for 2

Abilene, KS Famous Homes

Father Padilla Historical Marker

FATHER JUAN DE PADILLA & QUIVIRA In 1540 Francisco Vasquez de Coronado marched north from Mexico with 300 Spaniards in search of "The Seven Golden Cities of Cibola."

Herington, KS Historical Markers

Great Plains Theatre

"Kansas' premier professional theatre company", is housed in the Great Plains Theatre, a 100

Abilene, KS Theatres

St. John's Catholic Church

St. John's Catholic church built in 1908

Herington, KS Historic Churches


Fairgrounds Park

Fairgrounds Park, at the community's south end, has a miniature train for children to ride on summer evenings, along with baseball diamonds, playground, picnicking, and tennis courts. Nearby is the Railroad Museum, located in a historic baggage car.

Herington, KS Recreation

Old Abilene Town

Can Can Girls & Gunfighters - Weekends May - October

Abilene, KS Historic Towns

C.W. Parker Carousel

This antique carousel is a National Landmark and was built in Abilene by C.W. Parker c. 1901. The carousel is a track-operated machine consisting of 24 hand-carved horses and 4 chariots on a 50

Abilene, KS Landmarks

Explore Dickinson County