The Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park is divided into two sections. The first part, located in Johnson City, has a museum and several restored buildings that belonged to his family (like the Johnson Homestead). The second half, a few miles down the road (closer to Stonewall, TX), is co-managed with the State of Texas and where we headed next.
The LBJ Ranch, also known as the Texas White House, is where you really get a sense of the man who shaped our country during a turbulent period. After a quick stop at the LBJ State Park and Historic Visitor Center to get a driving permit, map, and an auto tour on CD, we were off.
The first stop was the reconstructed birthplace of LBJ. It’s a simple shot-gun style house with a separate kitchen. On the day we visited, the docents were making jam and cooking lunch over a wood burning stove.
|LBJ’s Boyhood Home at the LBJ Ranch|
As we sweated in the over-heated kitchen, I tried to explain to my guys that this rather primitive set-up was pretty common up until the 1940s in Texas and that their grandmother had lived in a house similar to the one they were walking through.
Then it was back to the car for a drive over to the one-room schoolhouse where LBJ went to school.
|One-room Schoolhouse on LBJ Ranch|
It was in front of this schoolhouse that LBJ signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 1965 providing funds for “educationally deprived” children, money for textbooks and libraries, and money for research centers. We stared at the tiny school that was the starting spot for a future President.
|Johnson Family Cemetary|
The self-drive tour took into the main section of the ranch and past the landing strip . . .
before a quick stop at the livestock barns.
|Cattle belonging to the LBJ Ranch|
|Texas White House on LBJ Ranch|
And as we exited the LBJ Ranch, I again heard LBJ’s favorite song, “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” from our car’s speakers, reminding me of my trip here so very long ago.