Boyhood Home of Lyndon B. Johnson, Johnson City Texas

Texas Hill Country is so beautiful.  After traveling mostly in eastern and southern Texas, this was such a gorgeous area.  Full of Beautiful scenery.

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It is the area where the desert meets the high plains and plateaus.  It can feel the harshness of the summer heat and drought, and also the winter storms, the cold and the snowstorms.  It is also the home of the beautiful wildflowers in season, most famous is the Bluebonnets.  This is the area our 36th president (1963-1969) Lyndon B. Johnson was born in and grew up in.  He loved and cherished it all his life.  We finally arrived in Johnson City (named after his ancestors) on Tue afternoon.  We found a reasonable campground right in town.  We had just enough time to find his Boyhood home.  The Lyndon B Johnson Historical Park is divided into 2 pieces.  His boyhood home and other exhibits in town and 14 miles west is the LBJ Ranch, the family home for over a century, his home and also the Western White House during his presidency.

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We decided to find his Boyhood home.  In town we could have seen many things such as history of Hill Country, restored structures of towns past, photos and movies of LBJ and Lady Bird, but it was so so hot, we decided to just see his Childhood Home.

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We was able to park right out front.  it is situated on a city block, comprised of 1 3/4 acres.  It is surrounded by a white picket fence.  Lyndon moved here in 1913 at the age of 5 and lived here for the next 24 years.  He moved from the farm as they called it then, west of town 14 miles, along with his parents and 2 sisters.  His dad, Sam Ealy Johnson Jr. paid $2,925 for the house.  It was called a Folk Victorian house built in 1903 by W. C. Russell, the Sheriff of Blanco Co.  

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As we approached the house the Park Ranger was swinging on the porch.   It turns out we were the only ones for a tour.  It was really causal and the Ranger did an excellent job.

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As we entered the house, this was the first room.  This was the office of Lyndon’s dadSam Ealy Johnson was a State Legislator for 12 years.  This house was originally very small.  It as constructed with a “dog run” or “dog trot”.  The main room is separated from the sleeping quarters by a breezeway that is covered.  It makes for more cool breezes.  It cools and circulates the air when the windows are open.  This room was the breezeway at one time until it was enclosed as a room.

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Off to the side was a bedroom.  This was the Girls Bedroom.  Eventually the Johnsons had 2 more children, a girl and a boy.  They raised 2 boys and 3 daughters in this house.

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We crossed back through the office to the Dinning room.  This was the center room for the house.  Now with time, a room was added on each side of the house off this dinning room.  Therefore, there’s  a door on each wall to a connecting room.  Also they added porches to each corner of the house.  It was surprising to feel how comfortable the temperature was inside the house.  Because of the porches shading the house and the open windows, their was a nice air flow even on 90 degree days.

floorThe back Sleeping porch and porch to the Tub room were screened in.  This also made 2 more doors in the Dining Room.

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This is the kitchen which was quite cheerful.  Because of its location, it didn’t heat up the house in the summer and had plenty of cross draft from the windows.

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One the other side of the Dinning Room was the Parents Bedroom.  Their bedroom was facing the front of the house and they also had a porch.  It was covered but not screened enclosed.

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This was the door to their porch.  They sure made beautiful wooden screen door back then.  Love the detail.  Notice the worn threshold?…..Years of the Johnson family walking and running out the door.

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The next room off the parents bedroom was…..of course the boys…..The parents had to keep a close watch over them…lol…also since this was the farthest room from the dinning room and the fireplace, they had a stove for the winter.  It is hard to see, but Rich spied a bucket under the bed.  …..Now we all know what that was used for….

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Off the boys room was a room they called ….The Tub Room….I believe this was pretty elegant and modern in that era.  Love the picture above the tub.

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This is the screened in porch between the Tub Room and the Dinning Room.   So beautiful isn’t it.  And this design allows the girls to use the Tub Room without going through the parents and boys rooms.  Really quite an amazing design.  Finally, back to the Dinning Room.

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To front of the house was 1 last room, The Parlor.  This was a rather formal room.  Lyndon’s mom was Rebekah Baines, one of the few college educated women in the area.  Education was her passion.  In this room she taught Elocution lessons (public speaking) and Debating techniques to the neighborhood children.  I asked the Ranger more about her.  He said, just remember, the Johnson men seemed to know how to marry women with money….lol….She came from money.  For her first years of marriage and during Lyndon’s first young years, they lived out at the farm, surrounded by other family members as it was owned by an Aunt and Uncle of Lyndon’s.  Life out their was much harder.  So that was when Sam moved the family in town to the more modern home.  She was so much happier to be able to live a more comfortable lifestyle, raise her family and be able to still teach.  I also asked about the authenticity of the furniture etc.  The ranger said it has been restored to 1920s era.  The only authentic pieces of the Johnsons are most of the things in the Parlor.  The furniture is original.   Most everything else in other rooms are replications.

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We walked out the back door to the beautiful yard.  It was full of beautiful Oak trees.  You can see the water system they had rigged up, and in the distance at the end of the path was a small barn for livestock.

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The windmill through the trees….It was a beautiful blue sky day.

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This picture was taken from near the barn looking to the back of the house.  You can see a small shed that I think was used for butchering and smoking meats.

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This is the back of the house.  The kitchen is in the middle, Sleeping porch in the right and the porch connecting the Tub Room on the left.   During the years after the Johnsons lived their, it had been altered and changed quite a bit.  It was given to the National Park Service and with the help of historians, architects, carpenters, stonemasons, and many local business people the restoration was completed.  It was opened in 1973 after 3 years of construction to restore its originality.

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This was an amazing tour to see where this little boy grow up to be the man he became…..

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…..The 36th President of the United States of America….

One can surely see where he received his roots.  His father was a State Legislator.  He helped his dad campaign for re-election and sat in on legislative sessions.  His mother was well educated and taught him public speaking and debating.  His life was formed as a child to succeed in life, to serve the people of the United States.   He was an Amazing Man.   

After we left their, we were hungry, so we scouted around town.  It is a town loaded with little antique shops and stores.  You can only imagine through the years since he was president, the amount of visitors they have had in this town.  All over the country and also the world.  I’m sure many world leaders or representatives and families have shopped in this town on the way to the Ranch.  We found a cute little restaurant that had its own winery inside.  Prices were a little steep, but we had the BEST CHICKEN FRIED STEAK ever.  It as awesome.  Finally back to the Motorhome.

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Tomorrow we would head out to the LBJ Ranch …14 miles west

…..IT WAS MAGNIFICENT….

 

 

 

 

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