The LBJ Ranch is located in the LBJ State Park. When we pulled in we headed to the visitor's center to get a free CD that we could use for the driving tour of the LBJ Ranch. The CD was pretty cool it gave you turn by turn directions through the ranch and it pointed out different areas to give you a brief history of them. The tour takes you by LBJ’s first school, a reconstruction of LBJ’s birthplace, the Johnson Family Cemetery, the airstrip LBJ used to fly back and forth from the Whitehouse to LBJ Ranch, the Show Barn, large fields with cattle out in them (LBJ Ranch is still a working ranch), and then finally the hanger and Texas White House.
We did a tour of the Texas White House which was about 20 minutes long
. A park ranger took us first into the office, which was an addition built on to the house when LBJ became more involved in politics. The ranger said that LBJ spent a good amount of time at the Texas White House during his presidency and conducted many meetings in that office. Apparently after he died Ladybird redid the office as a family room, but they have restored it back to the way it looked when it was used as an office. Next we headed in to the living room, which included his 3 TVs and their daughter Lucie’s piano among other things. The ranger said that Lucie gave them back the piano to use under the condition that she could come by at any time and play it. He said that she has been by around 6 times and has played it every time. After the living room we headed past a small bar and in to the kitchen. In the kitchen they had lots of family photos hanging up on display. After the kitchen was the dining room set with their everyday china. The dining room had one wall that was a huge window overlooking the ranch. It was a really nice view. Next we went in to a den that the ranger said all of LBJ’s aids referred to it as the chewing out room. If you got a call to meet him in the den you knew you did something wrong. After the den was a more formal living room/sitting room, which used to be the master suite until Ladybird got tired of being woken up at all hours of the night by people for LBJ, then she decided they would have separate bedrooms. They are working on restoring the bedrooms so we weren’t able to see them at this time
. Then we headed out a back door to finish up the tour. Outback they had on display some of the cement blocks they would make when visitors came. Apparently LBJ didn’t just want people to sign in to a book. They would pour a new cement block for each visitor and have them sign their name in the cement. They then used the blocks throughout the area around the house as stepping stones or other things. They have been working on restoring the blocks so they don’t fade with time (not everyone dug in deep for their signatures) so they only had some on display. It was a pretty interesting tour and the ranger had lots of little stories to tell about different things throughout the house.
After finishing up at the LBJ ranch we headed for Pedernales Falls State Park in Johnson City, TX to spend the night.