Abilene is the county seat of Taylor County. With a population of more than 117,000, it is where the majority of people in Taylor County reside. Located near the geographic center of the state, Abilene is the center of a 22-county area known as Big Country. It is a regional center for commerce, industry and education.
The city retains a strong western legacy even as the downtown area is experiencing a steady growth of cultural, shopping and dining attractions along historic Cypress Street.
Abilene prides itself on a good relationship with Dyess Air Force Base and its thousands of personnel.
Thirteen miles southwest of Abilene, at the intersection of Farm roads 89 and 1235, this incorporated community was founded in 1857 as the only town in Taylor County. Buffalo Gap was the county seat until Abilene was established. The town has established itself today as an old-time cultural and commercial center.
The Windmill City is 15 minutes west of Abilene on Interstate 20. Merkel prides itself on its family atmosphere and small-town Texas friendliness. Founded in the early 1880s, farming and ranching were primary economic factors in Merkel’s development. Agriculture still plays a significant role in the town’s economy, and residents also work in oil-production jobs and military-support jobs at Dyess Air Force Base.