A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from November 30, 2006
Key City (Abilene nickname)

The city of Abilene was called the “Key City” (or “Key City of the West”) from at least the 1950s. The nickname is not used much today.
All About Texas
April 06, 2006 9:39 PM
I grew up in Abilene, and they used to call it the Key City, as in the key, or gateway to the west. They called the Big Country and then The Friendly Frontier after that. It isn’t very “western” in comparison to Odessa (Slowdeatha-the Big OD-I love the nicknames cities, and their rival neighboring cities, give each other) or Midland, but a trip to the museums and Old Settlers Grounds at Buffalo Gap, the original county seat, is an awesome step back in time.
22 September 1952, Dallas Morning News, section ?, pg. 1:
The final show of the West Texas circuit got off to an early start Sunday morning as judging at Abilene’s Key City Kennel Club’s fourth annual show got under was at 8:30 a.m.
30 March 1955, Port Arthur (TX) News, pg. 2:
Mrs. Willard Shaw, president of the Key City chapter of Abilene, who also attended the district parley, commented on the convention happenings and briefly related the work of her club.
30 May 1958, Commerce (TX)

, pg. 6, col. 8:
Bary Pelton, East Texas State graduate, won two titles and was runner up in a third in the Key City Open Tennis tournament held in Abilene last weekend.
19 January 1961, Long Beach (CA) Independent, pg. 8:
Today, Abilene is anything but a ghost town. (...) Three colleges and three general hospitals make the city an educational and medical center for West Texas. It has to be to live up to the Chamber of Commerce slogan of “The Key City of West Texas.”

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • Thursday, November 30, 2006 • Permalink

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