Sunday, June 16, 2013

LBJ Ranch and Texas White House

While we were in Fredericksburg, TX we drove out to the LBJ Ranch and Visitor Center.  It was well worth the trip.
We drove over to the Visitor Center, picked up a map and some info and went on a driving tour.  First stop was the school where he first went.
The Junction School is also where he returned in 1965 and signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.  In fact, during is tenure in office, LBJ signed over 60 education bills in law.
We went around back for a peek inside.

Next, we drove over to the LBJ reconstructed birth place where he was born in 1908.  Nearby is the cemetery where he and his relatives are buried.
Lots of Johnson's are buried here.  The president died on January 25, 1973.

The driving tour took us around the airstrip and show barn where there are cattle and goats.  The ranch is still in operation and is a 'working farm' open to the public.
LBJ was very fond of his ranch and conducted a lot of presidential business out of here.
After the airstrip was built, he regularly flew there.  In fact he spent 480 days of his presidency here which was about 25%.

It occurred to me that building an airstrip, having the presidential jets flying into the ranch -- all must have cost a lot of money back in the 1960's.  Since he started out as a school teacher before he became a state representative, where did he get all his money to do this?  Or did taxpayers pay for all this?

When we got to the ranch house visitor's center, we parked and took a guided tour.
As we went over to the farm house I snapped a few pictures.
The place was known as the Texas White House.  It was bought from LBJ's aunt and both the ranch and the house expanded over the years.  Lady Bird wanted to make sure this portion of the ranch was open to the public and it was donated to the park service.  She used the place until her death at age 94.

Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed inside.  The guide took us through the office area that had been added.  LBJ liked 'high tech' and had an intercom system installed.  He had three TVs set up side by side in three different rooms in the house so he could monitor NBC, ABC and CBS's daily version of world events.  And he had extra telephones installed throughout the house.

The place reminded me a little bit of the Eisenhower Farm at Gettysburg.   And Truman's 'Little White House' in Key West.

The trip made me want to see more Presidential Libraries, Museums and 'white houses' so we will be on the look out for the next one.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  And thanks so much for all the comments lately!