LBJ Ranch and "Texas White House"
|Longhorn on the LBJ Ranch, these fellas are huge!|
Yesterday turned out to be a very blustery day. Our original plan was to go to Luckenbach to listen to some music but it was just too cold for that so we changed it up and headed to the LBJ Ranch and historic site. We had heard it was mainly a car tour so we could stay nice and warm.
This park is both a State Park and a National Park and the amazing thing is the only charge is $2 for the ranger led tour of the Johnson Texas White House. When he donated the house and land, President Johnson felt it belonged to the people and wanted to make it affordable for all. What a great concept.
|John with statue of President Johnson|
LBJ is really the first US president I remember much about. I was 8 years old when President Kennedy was assassinated and I remember that event but not much else. LBJ in my memory was a bigger than life character. When I would see him on TV or hear him talk he would remind me of my grandfather, but Texan style. Until going through this exhibit, I didn’t realize what a difficult hand he was dealt as president. He inherited a war he didn’t want but felt compelled to finish, and a civil rights movement in full swing that he felt passionate about. He also had a compassion for the plight of the poor and a compelling desire to improve education. Did you know he was a teacher before he became a politician? I was also impressed with the amount he accomplished in his presidency. I think he is remembered more for all that happened in Vietnam and forgotten are the strides made in civil rights and education.
Many books now have been written about what a difficult man he could be. He was known as the Great Persuader. The ranger on our tour was great about presenting both sides of the story and I appreciate that. Perhaps it was the powerful and stubborn will that led to him to accomplish so much in such a short time as president. I also didn’t remember that he was only 64 when he died. He died the day after then President Nixon called to tell him we had signed a peace accord with North Vietnam.
|Our welcoming committee. :)|
Back to the tour, at the state park visitor center they give you a cd that will narrate your car tour and explain the places you can stop and visit. There is a living history farm that is part of the tour and you can drive to it or walk a trail to it. We decided we needed to get a little exercise in so even though it was chilly we walked over to the Saur-Beckman Living History farm. You are greeted in the farm yard with colorful chickens pecking the ground. This is a working farm and they use volunteers and work campers who dress in period costumes. We talked to several who were recruiting and they actually help tend the animals, milk the cows and demonstrate many activities on the farm. I was impressed with how well kept up the farm was. After enjoying the farm life we headed back to the truck, put the cd in and listened to the narration as we drove around. We did stop at the house where LBJ was born and the cemetery where he and Lady Bird are buried. Then it was on to the house and the tour.
|The Texas White House|
|Air Force One at the hanger|
|House for the Secret Service detail|
Adjacent to the house, there is a runway and hangar where a medium size jet was parked that acted as Air Force One back in the day to bring him to the ranch as they couldn’t land a larger jet here (any plane the president is on becomes Air Force One). I found the house to be very surprising. It was known as the “Texas white house” because LBJ used it for much more than just as a retreat. Though there is lots of land, the house is surprisingly modest in size. The interior has been restored to a 60s decor like it would have been during his presidency. I think many of us would remember some of that furniture and the color schemes; it really made me smile. You also get a sense of Lady Bird’s influence in the house too. It really has only been a few years since her passing (2007) and she lived here until that time. They don’t allow photos inside the house so I only have a few outside. This tour is well worth the $2 and I am so glad I visited this site. Thanks to everyone who recommended this tour to us.
|Hi from the farm porch!|
Well, today has turned cold and it has been sleeting on and off but they say it will be short lived and Valentine’s day is predicted to be sunny and in the 70s. This is a good excuse to cuddle up inside and spend a relaxing day.