Abilene, Kansas was once known as the "wildest and wickedest town in the west." It was the site of the largest stockyard west of Kansas City. During the five year span from 1867 to 1872 more than 3 million Texas longhorn cattle passed through these stockyards. Old Abilene Town was established to commemorate this heritage.
I've been visiting Old Abilene Town for about the past 12 to 15 years and over that time, unfortunately, I've seen it decline from a thriving attraction to something more or less ho-hum. A few of the buildings that used to house historic attractions now stand empty. The Alamo Saloon is still open and the cancan dancers still perform here. The General Store across the road is still open, and gunfights are still staged during tourist season.
The museum that stands at the north end of the reconstructed main street is fascinating to tour, but don't expect fancy modern displays. The objects contained within the walls are antiques and I think that some of the dust and cobwebs have gained the status of antique at this point too.
It is sad to see that the old town has lost some of its appeal and hoopla, but I still think it is a good place to visit and take kids. History means so much more when it stands in front of your face.