Abilene, 20 miles ahead, was a cowtown of major importance in the
history of the American West. During 1867-1871 much of the town was a
mixture of bawling Longhorn cattle and cowhands up from Texas - with
numerous, more worldly two-legged critters in supporting occupations.
Abilene's most respected early lawman was Thomas J. Smith, who was
killed by a half-crazed settler in 1870. James B. "Wild Bill" Hickok,
city marshal in 1871, contributed to the town's bloody history by
engaging rowdy Phil Coe in a blazing gun battle at eight feet.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower lived in Abilene from 1891 to 1911. The
Eisenhower Home and Museum, the Presidential Library and Chapel, help to
make Abilene a major attraction for visitors from all over the world.
Thirteen miles west of this marker is an exit for Detroit. This little
town was an 1870 county-seat rival of Abilene. The Western News,
Detroit's newspaper, bitterly charged that Abilene was run "by
Vagabonds, Ruffians, Fancy Women, Rot Gut Whiskey and Gamblers."
Apparently the voters liked what was there, for Abilene triumphed!
Milford reservoir is five miles north of this marker.