LBJ National Historic Park
Johnson City, TX
April 18, 2010

Photos and Slide Show

YouTube Video

Wikipedia Article

National Park Service Website

The Lyndon Baines Johnson ranch and Texas White House consists of approximately 2000-acres located near Stonewall, TX., about 20-miles east of Fredericksburg, TX. and 60-miles west of Austin, TX.  The National Park Service and Texas State Parks jointly manage the ranch, house, grounds and livestock which was donated to the public by the Johnson family.  Prior to her death, the ranch was the primary residence of Lady Bird Johnson, the President's widow and as such access to the public was tightly controlled.  Secret Service protection was withdrawn and the grounds were opened to the public in August, 2008.  Guided tours of the home, dubbed the Texas White House by the press at the time, are provided by the National Park Service.  

LBJ was born in 1908 near Stonewall, TX.  He was the first child of parents Samuel and Rebekah.  Four additional children would follow, Rebekah, Josefa, Sam Houston and Lucia.  At his birth his grandfather prophesied that he would grow up to be a United States Senator.  Upon graduation from high school in 1924, LBJ and a few friends headed west to California to seek their fortune.  Three years later he returned to Texas where he enrolled in college hoping to become a teacher and graduating with a B.S. degree in 1930.   In 1931 he went to Washington, D.C. to work as secretary to newly elected Texas congressman Richard Kleberg.  He spent three years in that position learning how D.C. works.  He served as FDR's Texas Director of National Youth Administration before being elected to the U.S. House in 1937.   After the U.S. entered WWII in December, 1941, LBJ volunteered for active military duty (he was a Lt. Commander in the Naval Reserve) eventually earning the Silver Star in 1942.   Elected to the Senate in 1948 and became the Democrat Party Majority Whip in 1951 and then Majority Leader in 1953.  He was a Favorite Son candidate for President from Texas in 1956 and the Vice-Presidential candidate with JFK in 1960.  He ascended to the presidency upon the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963 and then re-elected as President in 1964.  Declining to run again in 1968, LBJ retired to his ranch where he died in 1973.   During his term as president he was responsible for passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and a host of other social programs.  He married Claudia Taylor, Lady Bird, in 1934,  They had two children, Lynda Bird and Lucy Baines.  Mrs. Johnson passed away in 2007. 

LBJ spent approximately 25% of his time as president at the ranch, getting away every chance he could.  Many foreign dignitaries as well as friends, family, political allies and opponents, cabinet members, staffers and even the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Many high-level meetings were held on the front lawn of the Texas White House during Johnson's administration.  The ranch had a sophisticated communications system that allowed LBJ to speak directly with his military commanders in Viet Nam.  A tour guide told the story of how LBJ would wake up in the middle of the night and radio orders for specific bombing missions and other military moves to those commanders.   LBJ was described to us as a 'Type A' personality on steroids.

LBJ reportedly had a wicked sense of humor and delighted in playing jokes on first-time visitors to the ranch.  The Pedernales River runs on the ranch property and LBJ had an underwater bridge laid across it.  He would drive towards the river  making it appear that he was going into the river when he was really crossing it via the underwater bridge. 

The tour of the ranch grounds is self-guided via your auto.  No entry fee is charged.  Tours of the house are led by a NPS Ranger and cost $2.00 per person.  Reservations are not required.  Unfortunately, there are no photos of the interior as cameras are forbidden from shooting indoors.

Underwater Bridge