County Seat: Abilene * County Population: 131,506 (2010 Census)
The 1972 Taylor County Courthouse pictured on the cover was designed by Tittle, Luther, Loving, Lee, architects. The Historic 1915 Taylor County Courthouse, built in a Classical Revival style, stands across the street from the modern structure and will undergo restoration beginning this month.
Officials first conducted business in Buffalo Gap, the only town at the time and therefore the county seat.
“The main industry in 1881 when the Texas and Pacific arrived (and missed the county seat) was selling buffalo bones. Up to 39 freight-car loads monthly were shipped from Abilene the first fall,” wrote author June Rayfield Welch in “The Texas Courthouse Revisited.”
The county seat was moved to Abilene in 1883 by a vote of 905 to 269.
Taylor County was named in honor of brothers Edward and James Taylor, who fought together and perished together at the Alamo in 1836. Abilene, named by railroad officers and cattle producers, refers to Abilene, Kansas.
The county is some 900 square miles filled with diversity in landscape, culture, history, business, and recreation.
The county’s rich history is detailed at The Grace Museum, Frontier Texas, 12th Armored Division Memorial, Merkel Museum, and Buffalo Gap Historic Village. Area galleries showcase local, regional, national, and international artists. Art lovers are treated to unique pieces displayed at the Center for Contemporary Arts, local artists’ works at the Cockerell Gallery, and Western pieces at Cedar Break Gallery. The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature showcases original work from children’s publications.
Taylor County celebrates its roots each May with the Western Heritage Classic beginning with a parade through downtown Abilene followed by a street dance, cowboy poetry, chuck wagon cook-off, a glitzy gala, rodeo, and numerous competitions.
The county is home to multiple wind farms, including two shared with neighboring Nolan County. In fact, two of the wind farms are among the top 10 largest in the world. Along with generating more than 1,400 MW of energy, the farms provide an interesting landscape.
The Abilene State Park in Tuscola fosters family entertainment with its pool, camping facilities, and hiking trails, along with beautiful Lake Abilene.
Taylor County is proud of its military population at Dyess Air Force Base, home of the B-1B Lancer. In addition, Dyess houses the C-130J Super Hercules military transport aircraft.
“Before heading home, try a big, juicy steak at one of our world-renowned eateries, and you will walk away knowing you have just enjoyed the best steak you will ever eat,” shared County Judge Downing Bolls. “Whether you are here for business or pleasure, you’ll find a great deal to do and see right here in Taylor County. We offer you small-town friendliness with big-city amenities.”
Judge Bolls and Traci Graham, former administrative assistant to the Taylor County Commissioners Court, contributed to this article.