Sunday, February 10, 2013

Lyndon B Johnson Ranch

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park consists of two areas.  The first is the Johnson City District that highlights nine buildings which were part of LBJ's life while growing up, as well as some history about his family heritage.

Lyndon Johnson's father, Sam Ealy Johnson, moved his family from Stonewall, 14 miles away, to this house in Johnson City in 1913 when LBJ was 5 years old.   Johnson City was not named after Lyndon Johnson.  It was named after a nephew of LBJ's grandfather, named James Polk Johnson, who founded the town in 1875.


LBJ's mother, Rebekah Baines Johnson, was college educated and education was her passion.  She taught debate to neighborhood children, as well as her own.  During his Presidency, Johnson's administration passed more than 60 education bills.
Lyndon's father was a State Legislator for twelve years and LBJ, at age 10, was on the campaign trail with his Dad. By the time he was thirteen he was sitting with his father in legislative sessions.  It's not hard to see that Johnson's background shaped his important political decisions.

The LBJ ranch tour includes his first school house, a replica of the house where he was born, the family cemetery, the ranch show barn, and a ranger guided tour of the "Texas White House".

 This is the school house LBJ attended as a child.  It was moved from its original location to LBJ state park. LBJ returned here as President to sign the Elementary and Secondary Education Act into law.

 This is a reconstruction of the house he was born in.  When he was 5 his family moved from this house in Stonewall to Johnson City.  The original house was torn down and LBJ had this replica rebuilt as a guest house on the ranch.

 LBJ and Lady Bird are buried in this family plot on the ranch

LBJ passed many important environmental laws that we take for granted today. Between 1965 and 1968 he signed 10 major laws relating to the environment, such as the Clean Water Act, The Endangered Species Act, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the Pesticide Control legislation, and many more.

LBJ wasn't satisfied with the usual guest book.  He had all the people who visited the ranch sign their name in wet concrete as a permanent record of their visit.

Three Apollo 7 astronauts, Walter Schirra, Donn Eisele and Walter Cunningham, signing  friendship stones for LBJ

There are over 300 friendship stones at the ranch

The LBJ Ranch was nicknamed "The Texas White House because he frequently had cabinet meetings or advisers meetings during his stay at the ranch.  The grounds were equipped with sophisticated electronic equipment and an air strip for landing planes and helicopters.

The LBJ ranch house which overlooks the Pedernales River.

 View from the front porch

The back yard
This is the original limestone section of the house that was built in 1890.  It has been added on to multiple times since LBJ acquired the home in 1951.

The LBJ Ranch was donated to the National Park service in 1972 with the provision that it remain a working ranch and not a sterile relic of the past.  Today, the NPS maintains a herd of Hereford cattle descended from LBJ's registered herd and manages the land the same way LBJ did.   

The ranch raises prize Hereford cattle

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