During the 1870s, there was wondrous change in West Texas. The area was ripe for settlement, and as the Texas and Pacific Railroad pushed west from Fort Worth, towns began springing up along the tracks. Ranchers coming to the area took advantage of the vast grasslands, and the new arrival of settlers was the beginning of a town named Abilene. Deriving its namesake from the town of Abilene, Kansas, the locals hoped the city would become a shipping point for cattle on their way to eastern markets. The town has since grown to be one of West Texass most thriving metropolitan areas. The citywhich is home to Dyess Air Force Baseis also well known for its numerous parks, schools, universities, and historic neighborhoods that are enjoyed by its 120,000 residents.