Lyndon Baines Johnson was born on August 27, 1908 in Stonewall, TX and went on to become the 36th President of the United States. So when we entered the nearby town of Johnson City yesterday, where Johnson attended high school, we theorized the town had changed its name to honor their famous son. We were wrong; it was already named Johnson City long before Lyndon came along. The town was named for an ancestor of LBJ, so there are family ties to the city name.
As you enter the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park the first stop after the visitor center is his boyhood home. We took a tour with a friendly ranger and learned about Lyndon’s early years.
Fourteen miles down the road from his boyhood home is the LBJ Ranch. During the Johnson Presidency it became know as the “Texas White House.” We toured the inside of the house and it’s perfectly preserved as it was when LBJ used it as his office and second home. You can’t take pictures inside, but it’s a great time capsule of 1960’s furnishings, style and technology.
Among the cars on display is the 1965 Corvette Sting Ray he gave his daughter, Luci, on her 18th birthday.
“Friendship Stones” were used instead of a traditional guest registry. Visitors etched autographs and the date of their visit into 12 inch squares of wet concrete. The Johnsons used them to create walkways around the property. I think this a brilliant idea and would love to do something similar someday when friends and family visit us.
Johnson was the first Vice President to have an aircraft assigned to him. His choice was the Lockheed JetStar C-140B (VC). As President he continued to use this one for travel to and from his ranch. In the center of the ranch property is a small airstrip where Air Force One would land (any airplane the President is on bears this call sign).
The property has a family cemetery where the graves of Lyndon Johnson and his wife “Lady Bird” can be viewed.