The LBJ trifecta, that’s my name for it, is a visit to the LBJ Library on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, a visit to the LBJ boyhood home in Johnson City Texas, and a visit to the Texas White House and the LBJ Ranch in Stonewall Texas. We’ve done them all.
Texas has been home to three Presidents, LBJ, George Herbert Walker Bush, and George Walker Bush. We have been to two of the three Presidential Libraries.
First the boyhood home at Johnson City. Although born on the ranch in Stonewall, LBJ spent most of his childhood in Johnson City as the family lost possession of the ranch. Johnson’s father was a politician and struggling rancher and businessman. As a boy Lyndon would listen to his father’s conversations and developed his concern for average people at a young age.
Johnson’s parents convinced him….no more like forced him to go to college. He attended Southwest Texas State Teacher’s College, (today Texas State University), in San Marcos. He became a school teacher at the segregated Welhausen School in Cotulla Texas. His love of politics was formed while in college and he soon ran for a U.S. Representative position vacated by the death of James P Buchanan and won.
On to the ranch….. we actually went here twice. The first time it was closed due to a government shut down.
The ranch is actually a State Park and a National Historical Park. You enter through the state park. At the state park there are two other things. A portion of the State Longhorn herd and the Sauer Beckmann Living History Farm. The first time since the ranch was closed we went there.
We found the interpreters eating a lunch they made on the farm, from the farm. It was an interesting conversation as they had spent the morning butchering a hog.
The second trip we got to do the ranch tour. This is a driving tour through this very large ranch. It starts at the schoolhouse.
and the family church……
We next entered the ranch itself. Now previously I mentioned that LBJ’s father had lost the ranch. He did but in 1951 LBJ was able to purchase land near the family homestead and eventually got it incorporated into his 2700 acre ranch.
After we passed through the original homestead we came to the cemetery. Here Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson are buried together.
Johnson met and married Claudia Alta Taylor whom he met in Washington D.C. while he was an aide to Congressman Richard Kleberg. Ironically Lady Bird was born and raised in Karnack Texas and was attending Georgetown University.
As the tour continued we found the cows. Although the state park features a longhorn herd LBJ didn’t raise longhorns he dabbled in Herefords and the line he established is still going strong today under the care of the National Park Service.
Did you know that LBJ had a private airport on the property? The airstrip could handle Johnson’s small JetStar aircraft later known as Airforce 1/2. Airforce 1 would fly Johnson into Austin and then he and his guests would board Airforce 1/2 for a short flight to the ranch.
Where did a congressman/senator get all this money. Well, Lady Bird bought KTBC an Austin Texas TV and radio station with her inheritance . And LBJ’s political influence let it happen along with the blocking of any other TV stations being approved in the Austin area. At one time the station was the NBC,CBS and ABC affiliate in the Austin area. The couple made millions on the TV station. And Johnson used his political clout to quadruple the stations signal to cover 63 Texas counties.
The home became to be called the Texas White House because Johnson conducted about 20% of the nation’s business from here. He would fly staff and dignitaries in on AF1/2. One of the things he’d like to do is load people up into his Lincoln and speed them off to the low water crossing below the dam on the Pedernales River where it appeared that you were going into the water. He also had an Amphicar which he actually did take people out into the river in.
When not in use the Johnson’s would invite staff and friends to the hanger for a night of food and movies.
The house is currently closed to touring due to structural issues….
We have been to the library a couple of times. I can’t find any pictures so we may have used a camera for those visits.