Tuesday, May 31, 2011

LBJ history time y'all

Yup, that's what we have been doing lately-going to all the LBJ historical locations either in Austin or east of Austin.

We started out by going back to Austin and the LBJ library located there on the U of Texas campus.  We did struggle to find it using Google maps because the campus was not very detailed.  Once we found it though we were not disappointed.  It is a great library and really gives a true sense of his life and presidency.  It is totally free at LBJ's request since he wanted others to learn and experience the times.  Very spacious, with lots of artifacts for the public to view from letters written to and by him, to gifts received from people around the country and the world. This is really a must see Presidential library.

Fountain just out side LBJ library

Fountain behind me and library up above

A few days later we went to Johnson City which is in the Texas hill country east of Austin.  There we went to see where he lived and where his grandparents lived.  His parents house was where he declared he would run for State Representative and then again where he declared he would run for President.
Tours are given by the National Park Service and are totally free per his and Lady Bird's wishes.

Front porch of house where mom taught LBJ and neighborhood kids; also declared running for President here

porch on other side of house

back view of house and land around it

Grand parents "dog-trot" cabin; dog can trot easily thru shaded breezeway
Our next stop was to visit the ranch also known as the "Western White House".  The ranch is ENORMOUS and beautiful.  One can easily understand why he would often leave the Washington DC confines to spend time with advisers and world leaders at the ranch.


To visit the ranch we first stopped at the visitor center to get a map and a CD with driving information, stories about the ranch, music LBJ liked and comments made by both LBJ and Lady Bird.  You drive around listening to the CD and stop it at various spots where you get out to see different parts of the ranch.  The driving tour and the house visit take about 2hrs, with most of it being the driving tour.  At the end of the driving tour the NPS has set up a mailbox for visitors to drop off the CD, quite the organized process for the whole thing.  And once again this is all free, with just a $2 per person charge for ranch housekeeping needs.  Again, this is definitely worth seeing.

LBJ called this Air Force 1/2; was used to bring him to the ranch from Austin airport

Above picture is the Johnson Family cemetery on the ranch.  It is not open to the public, but visible from a bit of distance.  LBJ and Lady Bird have the taller head stones just to the left of the small white stone.

After our visit to the ranch, our next stop was a wonderful town nearby, Fredricksburg a German heritage town with Victorian houses.  Town has reinvented itself to stay alive by adding lots of little cute boutiques and cafes for all the tired, thirsty and hungry folks coming from the ranch.  Very friendly and not too glitzy. 
The rest of the evening was spent driving thru the Hill country to get back to camp.  Lovely rolling hills with lakes, rivers and lots of green trees and green grass.  Beautiful area of Texas.

Well, bye for now,
Michelle and Fred
Traveling the country so you don't have to!