Explore Ike Sites in Abilene!

on May 18, 2020

"The proudest thing I can claim is that I am from Abilene."

Dwight D. Eisenhower

June 22, 1945

*Special thanks to Abilene researcher, Nanc Scholl for adding to our list!

1.  EISENHOWER PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM - 225 N. E. 4th Street

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On the grounds is the Presidential Museum, Library, Boyhood Home, Visitors Information Center and the Place of meditation where Ike, Mamie and their young son, Doud are buried.

Visit the all-new exhibits at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum and experience Ike and Mamie’s story in their own words.

One of Abilene’s most iconic attractions, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library,

Museum and Boyhood Home, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors a year. Whether you’re a WWII and history enthusiast, fan of or simply exploring Kansas, the Dwight D. Eisenhower campus will leave you in awe. And don’t forget to take a selfie with the 11-foot bronze statue of General Eisenhower!

2.  GENERAL EISENHOWER STATUE 

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See the 11' statue of 5 Star General and 34th President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower. The bronze statue of Dwight D. Eisenhower by Robert L. Dean, Jr. was presented to the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum by the Harry and Edith Darby Foundation. The statue depicts Eisenhower in the familiar World War II "Eisenhower Jacket."

The Georgia granite base has quotations from Eisenhower's illustrious careers as President of the United States, Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces, General of the Army, Supreme Allied Commander of Europe, and Chief of Staff of the Army.

3.  BOYHOOD HOME OF DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER 

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When the Eisenhower family first returned to Abilene from Dennison, Texas, in 1892, they lived in a cottage at 112 SE 2nd Street.  Prior to Ike’s 8th birthday, in 1898, they purchased this 818 square foot house, a barn and surrounding land from Ike’s Uncle Abraham Lincoln Eisenhower.  Ike’s parents raised 6 boys to manhood in this home, and lived here until their own deaths.  The home was first dedicated to the Eisenhower Center on June 22, 1947.  A second dedication took place following repairs on November 24, 1956.

4.  LINCOLN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SITE

Where the existing Visitor Center Stands

All of the Eisenhower boys attended Lincoln Elementary School (Grades 1-6).  They then went on to Garfield for 7th & 8th grads.  Lincoln Elementary School was purchased by the U.S. Government and razed in 1974.  Construction of the Visitor Information Center was completed in time for its opening on July 1, 1975.

5.  FIRST ABILENE HOME - 112 SE 2nd Street

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From 1892-1898 the Eisenhower family lived in this home. Today, it’s owned by long-time friend of Ike and Mamie, Claus Gruendl. The Gruendl family also operates the Eisenhower Museum in Oberammergau (Southern Germany). 

6.  BELLE SPRINGS CREAMERY - Cottage Street

Ike’s father, David, decided to move his family back to Abilene, from Dennison, Texas in 1892, to take a job as plant engineer at the Creamery.  His sons were frequently seen hand-carrying his lunch to him from the house on 4th street, as he put in 12-16 hour work days.

Following his own high school graduation in 1909, Ike worked at the creamery as an iceman, a fireman and finally a second engineer.  Before going off to West Point, Ike made “an impressive $90 per month”, with the work week being “eighty-four hours a week, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., fifty-two weeks a year.”

7.  DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER MURAL - 105 NE 4th Street

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Local artist William Counter completed this digitized Eisenhower mural in 2007.

8.  CENTRAL SCHOOL SITE - 300 NW 7th Street

The buildings where Dwight Eisenhower and his brothers attended grades 7-12 have since been razed.  The Garfield (Senior Living) now stands on the site of the Junior High School building.  Directly to the east is the site of the Abilene High School building Ike graduated from in 1909.  His class photo was taken on the steps, which can still be seen on the playground.

9.  SEELYE MANSION - 1105 N. Buckeye Avenue

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Named an “8 Wonders of Kansas – Architecture”, the Seelye Mansion is like a time capsule. Most of the home’s furnishings were purchased at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. The furnishings cost more than $55,000 that was spent building the 11,000 square foot home. The home features the original Edison light fixtures and Tiffany-style mantel. Frank Lloyd Wright suggested remodeling the interior in the 1920s.

The home was featured on the History Channel’s Mysteries at the Mansion. Visitors even get to bowl on the 1905 Box Ball alley, which was purchased at the Chicago World’s Fair.

Ike Fact: Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered ice to the Seelye Mansion when he was a young boy. The Seelye sisters recounted stories of Ike as a man from the “other side of the tracks”.

10.  ENGLE HOUSE BED & BREAKFAST - 102 Highland Drive

Engle House Bed & Breakfast- Abilene, KS

The Engle House Bed and Breakfast was the home to Jacob Engle and is on the National Register of Historic Places with connections to Abilene’s history.    David Eisenhower came to Abilene KS after refrigeration school in Texas and started working for Jacob Engle at the Belle Springs Creamery where Jacob was Vice-President.  Dwight D Eisenhower also worked for Jacob Engle during the summers until his appointment with West Point on June 14, 1911.  Jacob Engle, President of the School Board, signed Dwight D Eisenhower’s high school diploma.  

11.  IKE’S PLACE100 NW 14th St

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Ike's provides a very casual, family-oriented atmosphere while still capturing that sports feel. The menu is filled with something for everyone, from an assortment of flavored wings to juicy burgers, pasta to steaks, as well as amazing salads.

Ike Fact: Check out the historic photos and quotes from Dwight D. Eisenhower inside of the restaurant. 

12.  ABILENE CEMETERY - N.W. 14th Street, across from Abilene Middle School

Burial place of David Jacob Eisenhower (D: March 10, 1942) and Ida Elizabeth Stover Eisenhower (D: September 11, 1946).  Ike was noted to have visited his parents' graves during every return trip to Abilene.  Pay respects to Ike’s parents. 

13.  MR. K’S FARMHOUSE RESTAURANT - 407 S Van Buren Street

Mr K's Farmhouse - Abilene, KS
Ike Fact: Mr. K’s Farmhouse, formerly Lena’s “farmhouse on the hill’, is the location of many families and celebratory meals. Although many a story has circulated about this place, none more fascinating or humorous than the one which occurred in 1965 when President Eisenhower came face to face with a long-honored tradition at Lena’s. It was the day the 34th President became “just an ordinary American citizen”. While dining at Lena’s he watched a first world’s series game on television with friends and received an early 75th birthday paddling from Lena and one of her trademark paddles, which was signed and hung on a wall for all to see.

14.  EISENHOWER PARK & STADIUM - 500 Pine St.

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Under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal and Works Progress Administration (WPA), Abilene’s public park, swimming pool, stadium, and rose garden were completed in 1939.

In June 1944, this 40-acre park was dedicated to Dwight D. Eisenhower and has since been known as Eisenhower Park.  It was from the park stadium on June 6, 1952, that General Dwight D. Eisenhower announced his candidacy for President.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Abilene City Park Historic District, is home to the Eisenhower Park & Rose Garden, stadium, municipal pool and playground, and the Central.

15.  ROYER BAND SHELL – 500 Pine St.

The significance of this site is associated with the Abilene Municipal Band.  The Band has been in existence since 1881, and played at both welcome parades for Ike, and his announcement for presidential candidacy.  The original Band Shell burned down in 1989, with this one being built in 1990.

16.  ABILENE’S VICTORIAN INN BED & BREAKFAST - 820 NW 3rd

Abilene's Victorian Inn Bed and Breakfast - Abilene, KS
This lovely Victorian home was built in 1887 by Dr. Edward E. Hazlett. Hazlett’s son, Edward “Swede”, was a close childhood friend of Dwight D. Eisenhower. It was Swede who persuaded Ike to apply for an appointment to the United States Naval Academy. Both Hazlett and Eisenhower passed the entrance examination, but Eisenhower was barred from the entrance because he exceeded the maximum allowable entrance age. With that, Hazlett attended the Naval Academy and Eisenhower accepted an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. The two remained lifelong friends.

17.  MUD CREEK - NW 3rd Street

The Eisenhower boys and their friends made frequent fishing and swimming expeditions to this creek, whose banks were frequently swollen from heavy rains.  With Ike’s assistance, a flood control project was completed in 1952.

18.  SAM HELLER’S HOUSE - 214 N. Walnut Street

Eisenhower frequently entertained in this house, and other fine Abilene homes.  It is believed that the decision to run for President of the United States was made in this home.

19.  HOTEL SUNFLOWER - 409 N. W. 3rd Street

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President Eisenhower and his family frequently stayed in suites at the Sunflower during trips to Abilene.  They were photographed here, viewing the Welcoming Parade for Ike, from the Hotel balcony, in 1952.

20.  DOWNTOWN ABILENE

Many of the buildings and storefronts in downtown Abilene remain from the days when Ike was a boy.

21. LITTLE IKE PARK - 324 N. Spruce Street

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See young Dwight D. Eisenhower in Little Ike Park.

22.  UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD DEPOT - 201 NW 2nd Street

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President Eisenhower frequently traveled to and from Abilene by train, as a citizen, General and President of the United States. 

Dwight D. Eisenhower departed Abilene from this site in 1911, for West Point and his future military career. At that time there was an older 3-story depot/hotel building located on the site. The official end of the Chisholm Trail, the original site of Texas Street and the Historic Post Office Block can be seen from the East portico entrance. 

Following his death, his body was returned for burial at the Place of Meditation, via the Union Pacific Railroad, arriving in Abilene at this Depot.

California architect, Gilbert Stanley Underwood designed Abilene's Union Pacific Railroad Depot and the matching freight depot to the West, in the Spanish Colonial Revival style. The building was constructed in 1928 and passenger service began in 1929. 

When the UP Railroad announced intentions to close the depot building in 1986, a community-wide campaign was launched to preserve the depot. Renovation costs were shared equally between city funds & community fund-raising efforts. 

The Abilene Civic Center was officially dedicated in 1988 as a public-use facility. It has since housed hundreds of meetings, seminars, family gatherings, and more! 

Offices for the Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Abilene Area Chamber of Commerce are located in the west end of the building.