Ok, last week in Austin…I rented a car one day, and decided to make the trek out to the old LBJ ranch(now a national park)…for those of you under a certain age…LBJ is Lyndon Baines Johnson. The man who took over the helm after President John Kennedy’s assasination. The man who steered/bulldozed civil rights legislation through Congress.
The runway on which Air Force One landed was just a strip in the middle of a field (which is still there), and it landed there pretty often, as LBJ spent 1/4 of his time at the White House, in Texas on his ranch.
It’s where he and his grandparents and parents before him were raised, on the Pedernales River….out in the beautiful Texas hill country.
And the entrance that LBJ added(always a flair for the dramatic), included a trip over/through the river, and while the roadway through the river is still there, no one drives over it, but this is what it looked like when you did…
And while the first lady Lady Bird Johnson had a guest book…the President had a different way for his guests to be remembered at the ranch..they signed their names in concrete.
The house has been preserved just as it was when the Johnsons were in residence…he donated the ranch to the National Park Service, to go into effect after Lady Bird died(in 2007).
It’s a fascinating glimpse into the 1960s, and the volatile, crazy time it was, with civil rights, assassinations and the Vietnam War all playing on stage. I didn’t realize that Johnson died when he was only 64, just a few years after announcing that he would not seek another term in office. He’s also buried at the ranch. The park service does an amazing driving tour(diy-you get a cd and it tours you around with commentary and info. If you ever get out that way, don’t miss it!