Historical Roots Lead To Business Success for Dickinson County

Friday, July 10, 2020

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Communities across the country trace their development to the business origins dating back over a hundred years. Typically, a set of individuals came together to solve the problems they faced to improve life for their families and seek prosperity. Like many Midwestern communities, Dickinson County, Kansas, lineage involves livestock, railroads, agriculture and strong leadership individuals. Today, Dickinson County leans on that history to continue to focus on economic vitality for businesses and families alike.


The heart of the county’s historical record lies in Abilene, which is the county seat and largest town in the county with a population of about 6,300. The most well-known and valued aspect of history in the county is the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum & Boyhood Home in Abilene. Other historical treasures include the Greyhound Hall of Fame, Old Abilene Town and the Abilene Smoky Valley Railroad. 

“Dickinson County has a passion for preserving our past which is evident in the number of museums throughout the county including the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum & Boyhood Home,” said Chuck Scott, Executive Director, Dickinson County Economic Development Corporation. “Our wild west history still comes alive in Old Abilene Town where you can witness gun fights and can-can dancers, while you can enjoy the experience of riding on the heritage railway of the Abilene Smoky Valley Railroad.”

Heritage tourism is alive and well in the area, having been home to a U.S. President, U.S. Congressmen, Presidential Press Secretary, 5-star General, WWII flying ace, MLB pitcher, sports commissioner, judges, a university administrator, inventors, journalists, authors, film directors and more. And visitors can see the beginnings of the cow and railroad towns still come alive today during the Herington Railroad Days and a number of other heritage festivals throughout the county. 

Family Community with Ample Recreation 

Located in central Kansas and bisected by U.S. I-70, the county population is approximately 20,000, Dickinson County includes a number of small towns and is known as an excellent community to raise a family with quiet country living, yet filled with the amenities found in more populous areas.

High quality education is often the first item families seek when looking for a place to live. And Dickinson County has exactly what families need. All five of the county’s high schools participate in the Dickinson County Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities (CEO) program, the first of its kind in Kansas. CEO, created in 2008 by the Illinois-based Midland Institute for Entrepreneurship, is a year-long course created to teach juniors and seniors about business. Students accepted into the program will launch their own business by the end of their class. The Herington USD 487 serves the community with a new elementary school building and plenty of school spirit.

Those seeking quality family life in addition to schooling can look to the town of Enterprise as an example. It offers a friendly community with a low crime rate, affordable housing, and city parks. Or Herington, which sits about 30 miles Southeast of Enterprise and has been recognized as one of safewise.com's top 30 safest cities in Kansas.  

A high quality of life factor exists in Dickinson County thanks to the natural activities to be found there. The town of Woodbine is a peaceful, family community surrounded by rich farmlands and plenty of fishing, hunting, and other natural recreation. And outside of Herington is the Herington Reservoir, a natural gathering spot for family gatherings, picnics and swimming.  

Good for Business

A natural progression of the friendly, community-focused people of Dickinson County can be found in their attention towards local business. Dickinson County offers many advantages both existing and new businesses need to be successful. All of its towns can draw on quality workforce options, due to their proximity to each other and larger cities nearby.

As the largest city in the county, Abilene has a significant economic base, with approximately 23% of its land area committed to manufacturing, warehousing, transportation and utilities, including airport property. Enterprise is also home to many businesses including manufacturers, service businesses, restaurants, and several banks.  

Woodbine and Carlton are examples of towns able to offer businesses the amenities they are looking for in a community, such as city water and sewer, and fiber optic broadband service. And entrepreneurs can find building sites and commercial properties ready for development  throughout the county perfect for their unique requirements. 

Economic Development

One organization leading business support in the area is the Dickinson County Economic Development Corporation, or DKEDC. It’s mission is to further the economic development of Dickinson County by promoting and assisting growth and development of business and industry, as well as addressing all business concerns within Dickinson County. The DKEDC plan focuses on business expansion and attraction in conjunction with the private and public sectors, including the cities, business leaders and leadership of Dickinson County. 

All in all, Dickinson County is a vibrant, entrepreneurial community ideal for locally grown businesses covering any industry sector. Learn what is driving business in the area and what local residents have come to love: Dickinson County has a vibrant link to its history as a great place to do business and raise a family with a high quality of life!

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