Located just outside of Johnson city, and in the heart of the Texas hill country, is the homestead and ranch of our 36th President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson.November 22, 1963. The kitchen staff at the Johnson Ranch busily prepared for the arrival of President & Mrs. John F. Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connolly who were scheduled to be guests at the Johnson Ranch that evening. Several loafs of fresh baked bread and pecan pies had come from the oven when over the television came the report that President Kennedy had been shot. The news of his death was later delivered by a Secrete Service Agent who said: “You are now working in the kitchen of the President of the United States.”
What happened to America that day? Years later, we’re still looking for answers.
After he left office, the President and Mrs. Johnson made a proclamation that upon their passing, their property would be donated to the National Park Service with the condition that it remain a working ranch.
2000 acres is plenty of room for cattle to free range . Driving about, it’s not uncommon to stop and wait as the huge Herefords meander across the road, or see a nursing calf, or baby goats playing like children.
A 6000′ runway allowed small aircraft including this small jet to ferry cabinet members and military officials from Washington and the Johnson Ranch. This plane, now on permanent display, was always fueled and could be airborne within 20 minutes. Inside the house is the office where President Johnson conducted the business of the nation. I have to say that it was pretty humbling standing in the same room where so many leaders of our country once stood. 27 phone lines, 3 tv’s in just about every room, (to watch news on the three networks) a communications center, Secret Service housing, and an aircraft hanger complete with movie theater! A pretty amazing place!Johnson enjoyed cars and had a new Lincoln Continental (equipped with all terrain tires!) every year. He also had a rare Amphicar along with an antique 1940 Roadster equipped for hunting. Next to the gun rack was the wet bar!!At age 63, President Johnson passed away and was buried in the family’s plot. His marker is the second from the right next to his wife who died in 2007 at the age of 94.The state purchased the property across the Pedernales River which was settled in the mid 1800s. It too is a working farm reflecting life as it was. The staff make lye soap, grow and can vegetables, raise and sheer sheep, butcher swine, raise chickens, smoke meat and make sausage. The real deal!
We thought visiting here was going to be a couple hours. It turned out to be a full afternoon. Both interesting and educational.