Today was a beautiful sunny day here in the Hill Country which was awesome since it has been so rainy and cold lately. Yesterday was pretty too and I gave Scout a bath and haircut. He needed both. So since today was pretty, we decided to take a road trip about 15 miles East of Fredericksburg to the Lyndon B. Johnson State and National Historical Park. LBJ was the 36th President - he became President when President Kennedy was assasinated in Dallas in November of 1963.
There are two distinct parts of the LBJ park - the first part is the Texas State Park which consists of the visitor center, several exhibits and the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm. The Sauer-Beckmann farm is across the road from LBJ's family's ranch. We spent time looking at the exhibits at the Visitor Center and then drove over the living history farm which is maintained as it stood in 1918. There are volunteers in period garb who maintain the farm - including working the farm animals, keeping the house clean, cooking the main meal at lunchtime, gardening, canning vegetables, butchering, smoking meat, making soap, etc. It was very interesting and we enjoyed our visit, including talking to the volunteers who were very knowledgeable.
Then we continued our tour by driving down Park Road 1, crossing the Pedernales River and heading into the LBJ National Historic Park. Our first stop was at the Johnson Family Cemetery where both LBJ and Lady Bird are buried. The cemetery is across the road from where LBJ was born. We then rode on down the road and onto the ranch. The driving tour took us on a 7-mile loop around the ranch which still has Hereford cattle that LBJ was so proud of. We rode past his show barn and on to the hangar at the end of the runway.
The hangar serves as the Visitor Center for the National park and housed outside is the plane that LBJ used while Vice President and later as President - he referred to it as "Air Force One-half" after he became President. Inside the Visitor Center were a lot of displays, including the Corvette Stingray that the Johnsons gave their daughter, Luci, on her 18th birthday. We purchased our tickets for the tour of the Texas White House - it was given this name by the press as LBJ spent over 450 days here during the 5 years that he was president. 8 of us were led on a tour by a Park Ranger who regaled us with stories of visitors to the ranch and how LBJ loved taking them on tours of the ranch while driving his white Lincoln Continental convertible. He loved to have BBQs for heads of state and other guests there at the ranch. He died at the ranch 4 years after he left office - in January of 1973. Lady Bird lived alone at the ranch for another 34 years until she passed away in 2007.
The Johnsons decided to donate the ranch to the Park Service in the 1970's so whenever they remodeled the ranch in the following years, they took pictures of the interior and stored furniture and mementos to preserve them for later. After Lady Bird died in 2007, the ranch was turned over to the National Park Service who meticulously restored the ranch using the photographs which detailed the original layout and contents. Everything in the ranch today has been recreated to the way it was in the early 70s - including clothing, bathroom accessories, books, pictures, paintings, phones, televisions, lamps, chairs, couches, kitchen appliances, wallpaper, carpeting - everything. We were not allowed to take pictures inside the house, but it was pretty impressive.
After we left the ranch, we rode back into Fredericksburg and had a late lunch at Tubby's Icehouse - really tasty cheeseburgers! Then it was back to Mo for the rest of the day. It was a very nice day and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the LBJ ranch! Oh, and I received a call from the lady that was working on my sewing machine - it just needed a good cleaning so I can pick it up tomorrow - woo-hoo!