On a gentle hill, just west of Abilene on a winding curve of old US 40, stands a small grove of skyward pines. Their roots sink deep into the hill made famous by one determined woman named Lena.
Although Lena made her life's work out of her restaurant on the hill, her plans at an early age of 16 were far from that. At that tender age and considered to be much of a tomboy, she longed to be a physical education instructor. But as fate would have it, during a weekend outing to Kansas City, she found herself believing the words of a fortune teller, who told her she should be in a place selling "foodstuffs" to the public. A kitchen was the last place she wanted to find herself .... but soon she was there.
First there were other ventures, all in different locations. But again as fate would have it, one day in a restaurant just up this very curve of old 40 Highway, Lena was in the process of tarring a roof when her hair caught fire! She found herself trapped! She jumped down to safety, only to turn and look up at the farmhouse on the hill. It is said at that very moment she knew where her destiny lay. So as history goes she bought the house on the hill and on Friday the 13th of 1939, she opened her Farmhouse restaurant with a stag party for 100 men. The "foodstuffs" were served from that day on until 1974 when she closed for retirement. Lena fed tourists from coast to coast, foreign diplomats, secret service men, White House officials, and President Dwight David Eisenhower (Abilene's Favorite Son).
Although many a story has circulated about the Farmhouse, none are more fascinating or humorous than the one which occurred when, in 1965, 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 Abilene citizen." While dining at Lena's he watched a first world series game on television with friends and received an early 75th birthday paddling from Lena and her trademark paddles. He signed it and it was hung on the wall for all to see.
The history books will always tell the tales of Abilene's more famous citizens, such as Wild Bill Hickock, Bat Masterson, Tom Smith and even the humble beginnings of Dwight Eisenhower through wartime heroics and political fortunes. But there shall always be a place reserved for one determined woman named Lena Benson and her "Farmhouse on the Hill". In the fall of 1994 with Lena in failing health and wanting to sell her life's work, fate would find Ed and June Kuntz, longtime restaurateurs in Abilene. While driving one day on old US 40, they would spot a "for sale" sign on the property. By January of 1995, the Kuntzs' had purchased the tract known as Lena's. Shortly thereafter Lena passed away. With the help of her sister Nellie, they were able to bring back to life the Farmhouse on the Hill, after nearly 20 years of dormancy.