Ike's Abilene, the Town that Raised a President

At the turn of the twentieth century, Abilene was just one generation removed from its infamous beginnings as the "wickedest cowtown" in the West. This era initiated a period of growth, development, and modernization. City fathers proudly boasted a bright and boundless future for the little city they dubbed, the "gem on the plains.' Indeed, these were remarkable years for Abilene. Dependable electric power and citywide telephone service -- with ever-expanding long-distance connections -- were introduced by a young River Brethren entrepreneur named C.L. Brown. Bustling stores of all types lined Abilene's central business district, which was paved in 1910. The C.W. Parker Co. boasted factories that build fine carousel horses and manufactured bricks and, in the entertainment arena, the Parker Carnival and Parker Roller-Skating Rink were held in high esteem by Abilene's youth. Dr. A. B. Seelye purchased and renovated the old Bonebrake Opera House into a modern theater and made a personal fortune in the patent-medicine business. An impressive Georgian mansion, prominently displayed on Buckeye Avenue, was a testament to his wealth. Another booming Abilene enterprise was the Belle Springs Creamery, where David Jacob Eisenhower and, in turn, each of his six sons, would work. This was the Abilene that a future five-star general and President of the United States knew intimately and would always call "home." 

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