Part 2…..The Beautiful LBJ Ranch

The front lawn of the Beautiful LBJ Ranch…..Home of our 36th President of the United States…..

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In Part 1, we had finished walking around the front of the house and pool and toured part of the first floor of the Ranch.  Now we are back outside walking around the back.

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Around the back corner was an area of concrete 12” pavers.  As the Presidents guests came to visit, he would have them cast a square and sign it.  The are all arranged in an area around a patio.  This particular one was signed by John Glenn in 1962, our astronaut.

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At the back of the house was a large driveway area and parking.  You can see how the house has been added on to through the years.  Now as we looked to the right, here is the Secret Service Command Post.  The Secret Service maintained a presence with the Johnson Family for 46 years, beginning  when he became vice president in 1961.  When he became President in 1963, the Secret Service maintained a 24 hour protection for the family.

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After the Presidents death in 1973, a Security detail still remained with Lady Bird until her death on July 11, 2007…..Making her the longest protected First Lady in the Twentieth Century.  This building is closed right now.  Funds are being raised to replace a new foundation and then restore the building so it can be opened to the public.

After reading this, It gave me some food for thought.  The cost of the Secret Service protection is huge considering the years they serve the President and family.  I do realize it is necessary and deserved even after leaving office for the President and First Lady.  Our presidents are getting younger.  President Obama has many years left.  But now look at President Trump and his wife Melania.  He is 70, but she is only 47.  Just think of the cost it will entail in the future years.  Even if Trump dies before her, she is young.  She is used to a jet set life style.  She is use to traveling and living to the fullest.  She will not be living out on a ranch or small town area.  Melania will always have the best.  The only way she will loose Secret Service coverage is if she would remarry in the future.   I am not trying to bring politics into this, but it is just some food for thought…….Lots of Money….

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Behind the Secret Service Command Post is a series of dark green buildings.  This was the Command Center.  With in 4 weeks of President Johnson taking the oath for the Presidency in November 1963, after President Kennedys assassination, the LBJ Ranch had enough equipment for a small city:  microwave towers providing 120 channels to Austin, two-way radios, teleprinters, cryptographic machines, and an extensive telephone system with 100 lines.  These buildings housed the switchboard and a 50 kilowatt emergency generator.

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The President was said to be on the phone 18 hrs. a day.  You can see the TV antenna in the back yard rise above the house and the little picture in the upper right is the switchboard in 1965.  Lady Bird remembered it as “the bane of my life….aesthetically”…..This picture is from 1965 and I noticed the 2 new bedrooms and the pool have not been added yet.  Next we came to a glass enclosure containing 2 cars.  We had passed these on our way into the house to begin our tour.

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These were the cars of Lady Bird Johnson,  2 Lincoln Continentals.  It was rather hard to take a good photo because of the glare on the glass.  We went to another building called The Klein Shop.  It used to be the maintenance building for the ranch.  Now it is the museum for LBJ’s car collection.

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This is Lyndon and Lady Bird crossing the Pedernales River on the dam in 1959.  This is a 1934 Phaeton, featuring a V8 Lincoln Zephyr engine.  He added a Rifle rack, Wet Bar with Water Faucet, and steel plating underneath to prevent damage.  He took his guests hunting on the ranch to escape the stress of politics.

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These are 1967 and 1968 Lincoln Continental Convertibles.   They featured Suicide doors, Power Windows, Power Door Locks, AM-FM Radio, 8-track Tape Player, and VHF Radio.  He always purchased them from an Austin Dealer, Roy ButlerMr. Butler always made sure Mr. Johnson always had the first new Convertible in Central Texas each year, always white with a tan leather interior.  He loved to ride guests around telling his story’s.

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This is a 1962 Amphicar.  Manufactured in West Germany.  This was the only mass produced civilian amphibious automobile.  3,878 were built between 1961 and 1968.  Color choices were,  Beach White, Fjord Green, Regatta Red, or Lagoon Blue.  He would love to take guests around and pretend his breaks went out when approaching the river or a lake.  Then he would just glide right in and shock them….lol…In this picture, Lady Bird is on the front of the boat with a cup in her hand, and LBJ is driving his car.

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This was a 1915 Fire Truck Type 12 American La France restored.  It is a beautiful peace.  It was gifted to him on Nov. 1964 by the people of Brady Texas.  It was also used for many years as a tour vehicle on the ranch.

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President Johnson used Cushman golfcarts to bring his guest from the airstrip to the house.  In this picture Senator McGovern had just flew in to seek advice and support on the 1972 Presidential campaign.  On the back is Sargeant Shriver and Lady Bird listening, and of course their dog Yuki.  The tour at the house was now done.  We walked back past the Airplane Hanger/Visitor Center and headed for our little pickup.

 

It was really bittersweet to leave.  I could have hung around their all day just relaxing and exploring by the river.  Sitting up by the house under the oak trees.  Just imagining the hustle and bustle , or all the barbeques and guests that had walked these grounds.  We would now be heading east on the taxi strip past the entrance to the runway, to the road that we came in on.  On the way we spotted a cute Jack Rabbit.

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I had to really zoom this picture as we were much farther away.  He got scared and ran for the fence.

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Then he ran across the road into the tall grass, not to be seen again.  This picture looks almost fake, but it is real, but zoomed in.  He was moving really fast.  Finally we were on the ranch road that ran along the banks of the Pedernales River.  We again we driving through the overhang of the beautiful Oak trees.  We passed the home on the left that was Lyndon Johnsons Grandfather, Sam Ealy Johnson Sr.  Little farther down the road on the right side along the banks of the River was the Johnson Family Cemetery.

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Most of the people buried in the cemetery are related to Lyndon Johnson. His great grandmother, Priscilla Bunton, was the first person buried here. She passed away on April 28, 1905, during a violent storm, and her family was unable to cross the flooding river to lay her next to her husband in the Stonewall Community Cemetery. The family chose a grove of live oak trees on property belonging to Lyndon Johnson’s grandfather for Mrs. Bunton’s burial site. Her gravestone is the white Georgia marble marker with the lamb on top. In 1937, LBJ’s father, Sam Ealy Johnson, Jr., was buried in the cemetery. Sam Johnson had been a state legislator who was much admired for his work.  In 1946, Frank Seaward, a rock mason from Stonewall, built the wall enclosing the cemetery. The wall was constructed to give identity to the cemetery, as well as to minimize the harmful effects of Pedernales River flooding. Repairs were made on the wall after major floods in 1952 and 1959.

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The most prominent gravestone in the cemetery is the gray one with the Martin name on it. Frank and Clarence Martin were President Johnson’s aunt and uncle. The President bought the ranch from Frank Martin in 1951. President Johnson’s gravestone is the tallest marker in the main row. To the right are his mother, Rebekah; his father, Sam Ealy, Jr.; and his paternal grandparents, Sam Ealy Sr. and Eliza. To the left of the President is where Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson is laid to rest. The remaining headstones belong to the President’s brother, Sam, and his three sisters, Rebekah, Josepha and Lucia. Rebekah’s husband, Oscar Bobbitt, is also buried in the main row as well as Lucia’s husband, Birge Alexander.

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The President’s Funeral
President Johnson’s body lay in state at the LBJ Library in Austin, and then in state in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. President Johnson’s funeral at the LBJ Ranch took place on the cold and rainy day of January 25, 1973. He once told Mrs. Johnson, “When I die I don’t just want our friends who can come in their private planes. I want the men in their pickup trucks and the women whose slips hang down below their dresses to be welcome, too….” Hundreds of people attended the funeral, which was conducted by Reverend Billy Graham.

While living at the Texas White House, President Johnson loved to visit the cemetery. He said, “I come down here almost every evening when I’m at home. It’s always quiet and peaceful here under the shade of these beautiful oak trees

This is such a beautiful cemetery.  It is peaceful, and so serene.  I can see why he loved it here.  I’m sure he spent many hours thinking about family, his childhood, and about this being his finally resting place also.  I’m sure he contemplated many of his decisions of the country as he sat under these oak trees.  How ironic that just across the road and down a short ways was the home that LBJ was born in.

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The original home was torn down in the 1930’s.  President and Mrs. Johnson had it reconstructed in 1964 as a guest house.  It was never intended to be an actually copy of the original, but it is close.  The original home was built in 1889 by Johnson grandfather, Sam Ealy Johnson Sr.  Lyndon’s parents moved here after their marriage in 1907.  Lyndon lived her for 5 years before moving into Johnson City.  We drove further down the road to the last building by the main gate.  This is the a Junction School House the Lyndon attended at the age of 4.

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This school was built in 1910 to serve the rural inhabitants of Gillespie County.  It did just that for 37 years, teaching the 3 R’s.   Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic.

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Lyndon attended this school in 1912.  Their were about 40 students, girls on 1 side and boys on the other.  This was the beginning of his education that would guide him in his passion as a teacher, and eventually become President of the United States.  He eventually signed over 60 educational bills into law, more than any other president.  He even came back to this school house for the ceremony to sign one very important bill.   Sitting at a picnic table on the lawn of the Junction School with Miss Katie Deadrich (his first teacher) at his side, President Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act on April 11, 1965.26-esea-1965-bill-signing-lyndon-johnson-kate-deadrich-loney-bw-600

We were finally done with the tour and headed back to Johnson City.  We had just enough time to stop for dinner at a fabulous Barbeque restaurant.  Excellent.  Back to the Motor Home, pulled in the slides and away we went……1 PM….right on schedule…..We had thought about goint to Austin….but….It was time to head for Harlingen….Enough Play…..Time to get back to a Normal Life style….lol….One thing I didn’t touch on was Lady Bird….

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Now remember back at his Boy Hood Home in Johnson City we were told, the Johnsons married smart women, educated and with money.  His mother was very educated and was a teacher.  So this is a little about our First Lady.

Lady Bird was born:   Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Johnson (née Taylor; December 22, 1912 – July 11, 2007)  She was named after her mothers brother Claud.  Her nursemaid Alice Tittle said she was as “purty as a Lady Bird.”  The nickname stuck for the rest of her life.  Her father and siblings called her Lady, and Lyndon called her Bird.  She even used Lady Bird on her marriage certificate.  She was a well-educated for a woman of her era, she proved a capable manager and a shrewd investor. After marrying Lyndon B. Johnson in 1934 when he was a political hopeful in Austin, Texas, she used a modest inheritance to bankroll his congressional campaign, and then ran his office while he served in the Navy. She bought a radio station, followed by a TV station, which generated revenues making them millionaires. As First Lady, she broke new ground by interacting directly with Congress, employing her own press secretary, and making a solo electioneering tour.

After being introduced to Lyndon by a friend, 0n their first date, Lyndon proposed. Lady Bird did not want to rush into marriage, but he was persistent and did not want to wait. Ten weeks later, Lady Bird accepted his proposal.  The couple married on November 17, 1934, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio, Texas.

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Unfortunately Lady Bird had 3 miscarriages, but finally  they had two daughters together: Lynda Bird (born in 1944) and Luci Baines (born in 1947).   Lyndon and Lady Bird and their two daughters all shared the initials LBJ. The daughters lived in the White House during their teenage years, under close scrutiny of the media.
Both daughters married. Lynda Bird married Charles S. Robb, who was later elected as Governor of Virginia and U.S. Senator. Luci Baines married Pat Nugent and, later, Ian Turpin. Lady Bird had seven grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren at the time of her death.12ladybird-2-600

Lady Bird Johnson was a lifelong advocate for beautifying the nation’s cities and highways (“Where flowers bloom, so does hope”). The Highway Beautification Act was informally known as Lady Bird’s Bill. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest U.S. civilian honors.  Her love for flowers is apparent at the ranch.  Their were acres of wildflowers growing in their natural state.  In closing of this blog, I came across a picture that I will never forget, nor will the people who lived through the era of the 60s’.  I still remember that weekend of the assassination.   President Kennedy was assassinated on Friday.  That afternoon the Presidents body was loaded on Air Force One and this picture was taken before they left Dallas.  It was on tv and all the new media.  ………A Moment in History…..Vice-President-Lyndon-B-Johnson-is-sworn-into-the-office-of-the-Presidency-aboard-Air-Force-One-hours-after-the-assassination-of-Presi

When President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, President Johnson was sworn into office aboard Air Force One in Dallas before they took off.  Mrs. Johnson was by his side as well as Mrs. Jackie Kennedy, the Presidents now widow.  Mrs. Kennedy still had her pink suit on, blood spattered from her husbands blood.  She never changed it till morning.  They wanted her to change clothes, but she said “No, let them see what they have done”.  President Johnson finished out this term and was elected to one more term of 4 years.  He then declined to run again, knowing his health was not good.

He was a Great Man, Lady Bird was a Great First Lady….They made a Wonderful Couple.  The built a Wonderful Life and a Legacy to Last an Eternity….

 

 

 

Part 1…..The Beautiful LBJ Ranch

 

THE HOME OF OUR 36TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES….LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON…..

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The next morning after we had visited Lyndon Baines Johnson’s Boy Hood Home, we got up early.  We were going to head 14 miles west of Johnson City to the LBJ State Park, the home of the LBJ Ranch also known as the Western White house while President Lyndon Johnson was in office, from 1963-1969.

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When we checked in the day before, the manager said we could see it in plenty of time in the morning and she would let us check out at 1pm instead of 12.  So we were up early so we could be their by 9 am.  We arrived and went to the Visitors Center and obtained a free park pass.  You can buy a CD Guided Tour tape, but we didn’t purchase it.  They had many very nice souvenirs of course.   So we headed to the Ranch.  We found out the Ranch House guided tours were on the hour.  Tickets are sold at the Airplane Hanger.

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We proceeded along the road.  We followed the road on the south side of the Pedernales River all the way to the edge of the property on the east side.  We crossed the little bridge on the river and made a left and entered the LBJ Ranch.

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We wanted to be at the hanger before 10 so we passed the School House, his Birthplace Home, the family Cemetery where LBJ and Lady Bird are buried and other family homes knowing we could see them on the way out.   We followed the Pedernales River now heading back west towards the Ranch that sat on the shore facing the beautiful river.

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The trees on the drive were so beautiful.  Big old oak trees.  Along the way we also passed many cattle.  They were roaming free.  The homes had fences around them so the cows wouldn’t go up to the houses.  lol.

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The LBJ Ranch is still a working ranch and these are descendents of his original herd.  This little baby just stood their and looked at us.

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Now this one found a way to itch his back.  He was moving back and forth rubbing on the tree branches with his eyes closed.  He must have been in heaven.  lol.  We made it almost to the house and the gate was closed.  We had to make a right turn and headed north.  Now what we didn’t realize was, that their was a airstrip on the ranch.  President Johnson would fly in on a jet.  So we had to go north around the far end of the runway to come back to the house.  It was full of pasture land, all fenced and kept in perfect shape.  after we looped around the end, we came upon the Cattle Show Barn.

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Their were several very nice buildings and many pens to separate the cattle.  We could have stopped but we had to keep going to make the 10 am House tour.  We followed beside the runway all the way to the ranch.   And their it was.  …..Amazing….. in front of us was the “Air Force One and a Half”, as President Johnson called it.

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This is a Lockheed JetStar VC-140.  It had a crew of 3, 2 pilots and 1 stewardess.  Its maximum speed as 605 mph, Cruising Speed, 520 mph, Range, 2,200 miles, with a service ceiling of 45,000 ft.  In 1953 Lyndon Johnson constructed a 3,000 ft. grass landing strip as he was spending a lot of time working in Washington.  By the time he became president a series of improvements had resulted in a 6,300 asphalt air strip.  But when he became president the airstrip wouldn’t support the weight of the Boeing 707, the “Air Force One”.  He would fly into San Antonio or Austin and use this plane to fly to the Ranch.  It made it much easier for him to take his work home.

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It looks so small inside but he really liked this plane.  This plane holds so many memories of so many dignitaries of the world.

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President Johnson looking out the window with his dog on one of his trips.

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We parked in the taxi way as it approached the hanger.  The original hanger is now the Museum/ticket office and the starting place for the tour.  This building held so many items of history.

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This is a favorite photo.  This was a large canvas of President and Lady Bird Johnson in the Museum.  They also had many recorded phone calls that you could listen to during his administration.  It was so interesting to listen to his speech, his choice of words, and Texan accent.  We purchased our tickets and our tour started.  Our Guide was a lady very well versed in the history of the Johnson Family.  She told the story with warmth and knowledge.  She took us out the back door and up the side of the house.  Through a gate and their we were.

 

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We were at the side of the Ranch House or Western White House.  This house has been built on many times during the years.  It was originally owned by his Aunt and Uncle.  He lived down the lane and later in town, but would come out and spend time on the ranch learning  and working the ranch.  In 1951, his Aunt and Uncle extended an offer to  him to buy the ranch.  Of Course he did.  He Loved this Ranch.  He had such wonderful memories as a child here and of the Perdenales River as it ran past the front of the ranch.  He spent many hours playing in the river.  Memories of his childhood were so near and dear to his heart.

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Our guide told us during his presidency, Johnson would hold many staff and other meetings here.  In nice weather they would sit in the grove of Oak trees down by the River.  After their work was done for the day, he would hold his famous barbeques.  If it was very large it would all be catered in and they would eat under the Oaks by the river.  Many famous politicians from the US and abroad would attend.  Most all of them arriving in his plane or by helicopter.  He spent 20 percent of his presidency here.  So as we went to the house, our guide told us we could not take pictures of the inside.  After Lady Bird died, the house was restored to the era of when he was president.  Lyndon Johnson died of a heart attack at age 64 on January 22, 1973.  Now Lady Bird didn’t pass until Jul 11, 2007 (age 94).   She live here as well as in Austin, and spent much of her time with her daughters.  She had saved all the furnishings and historical items so that the history could be preserved.  The house was then restored by the  National Park Service and opened for the Public.  The first room that we went in was the West addition that was were the Presidents Western White House office was.  The inside pictures I will display were taken from the internet.

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In this room was 4 desks.  This was  President Lyndon Baines Johnsons official desk.  Across from him was the desk of his Ranch Manager.  Their was also 2 other desks in their that were from his Washington crew.  One I believe was for his Press Secretary Pierre Salinger.  On the wall facing him was 3 tvs that were always tuned to the 3 major networks.  Now our guide said, “Just Imagine.  All 3 tvs going, 72 phone lines that came into the house ringing, and cigar smoke filtering through the air.  lol.”  Yes, never a dull moment in that house.

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Here is his recliner that has the Presidential Seal on the headrest.  His pillow reads “This is my ranch and I do as I dam please”……We went outside, the next part of the house we could not go in.  It was the original part that his Aunt and Uncle lived in.  We then walked around the front passing some huge Oaks and past the front of the house that was seen so many times during his presidency.

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I remember pictures of upstairs porch with that criss cross railing.  Here is President Johnson, Lady Bird and the 2 girls, Luci Baines and Lynda Bird.

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On the east side of the house, 2 bedrooms had been added on.  Presidents in the front and Lady Bird’s on the back side.  Also a Pool was added.  President Johnson could now just go out his bedroom door to the pool.  The pool is still being perfectly maintained today.

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We passed this piece of concrete that was on the approach to the front door.  It as added when LBJ bought the ranch in Aug 1952.  We then entered the side door and went down a long hallway passing all the room till we entered the living room.  Now all these inside pictures I have again taken from the internet.

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The Living Room had one of the stairways going upstairs.  We unfortunately couldn’t go up.  Lady Bird Johnson called this room “Grand Central Station”, as their were doors in all the walls leading to different parts of the house.  It was always hustle and bustle.

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Interiors of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Ranch also known as the Texas White House in Stonewall, Texas on Tuesday, January 31, 2012. (Austin American-Statesman/Rodolfo Gonzalez)

We were then taken into the kitchen.  It had an Industrial frig as well as industrial stove.  Many large meals were cooked here.  The guide said, that after Lyndon died, his girls remodeled the kitchen for their mother.  The yellow counter that you can see in the corner was replaced with modern counter.  After she died it was all restored to original yellow.  We never seen the Dinning Room, but we heard it was under construction.  We went back down the hall way seeing all the rooms we had passed on the way in.  We seen closets full of their clothes, bathrooms, and a sitting room.  The Sitting Room was once the Master Bedroom, but Lady Bird got tired of waking up in the middle of the night and finding by the Presidents side several members of his staff talking with the President.  So Therefore, that is why the 2 bedrooms were added on.  Lady Birds was very large.  She had a fireplace with a seating area, large windows to look outside at her flowers and a full wall enclosed curio cabinet for her special keepsakes.  A beautiful room of comfortable peace and serenity.

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Across the hall was the Presidents room.  He had a regular hospital light above the headboard.  Of course his 3 tvs were installed, and you can see his table for his Chiropractor treatments.  The guide said his Chiropractor was still living in Johnson City and she was always picking his brain for stories.  Every nite he would get an hour treatment.  He was suppose to be relaxing but he was always on the phone or talking with someone in the room.  After he left the presidency, they returned to the ranch to return to a normal life style if possible.  Lyndon Baines Johnson died at his ranch at 4:39 p.m. on January 22, 1973 at age 64, from a third myocardial infarction (heart attack).

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Johnson was napping in his ranch bedroom when he suffered his last massive coronary, called his beloved Secret Service agent Mike Howard and fell to the floor, almost instantly dead. It was exactly two days after the presidential term he would have served, had he run again in 1968, and almost the same moment that his successor, Richard Nixon, declared a peace in Vietnam that had eluded LBJ and would not last.
After Johnson’s first heart attack in 1955, doctors had told him that if he ever started smoking again, he would kill himself. But almost as soon as he left the presidency, he resumed fierce chain smoking, overeating, and, sometimes, overdrinking. Some of his aides privately muttered that the boss was committing slow motion suicide. But when one of his horrified daughters begged him to stop the cigarettes, Johnson shook his head and exclaimed, “No, I’ve raised you girls, I’ve been president, and now it’s my time!”   I also read that he was laying in bed and called his Agents that he was having massive chest pains.  The Agents found him in bed still with the phone in his hand.  But whether he was in bed or on the floor, he passed in his bedroom at his Beloved Ranch that he loved so much.  He had a life time of memories.  He was born on this land, his spent his childhood learning ranching, playing in the beautiful Perdenales River, later purchasing the property and making and developing it as his own.  He married Lady Bird and raised 2 daughters here.  Then becoming the 36th President of the United States and making this the Western White House So many important decisions were made during his presidency in this house and out under the Oak trees down by the river……..So Much to be Proud of……

Their is so much more that will be in Part 2.  Secret Service Command Post, Communications Center,  Their car collection, Birthplace home, School house and above all The Family Cemetery.  We left the house and seen so much more.  This has been such an inspiring tour so far,  learning so much about our president that I never knew.  We take so much for granted as a child.  We need to appreciate what we have as an adult and learn about our Beautiful Country we have and the Men who Have Made it Great.

……Stay Tuned for Part 2…..

But this is my Most Favorite Picture of the Day…..Rich on “Air force One” and a Half…..

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Oklahoma State Capital Tour and Steak and Shake

We were making a small vacation of this delay in Oklahoma City, waiting for the Motor Home to go into the shop.  We had added taking a tour of the State Capital to our list.  Last year we toured the Iowa Capital in Des Moines and was so impressed.  It seems that all Capital buildings are open for either a guided tour or self guided.  We checked out GPS on the phone and found out it was near.  So off we went in search of the State Capital of Oklahoma.  Of course traffic these days around capitals seems to be one way with circular drives around the whole complex.  So if you miss your turnoff, around you go again.  So finally we parked right in front.  After asking questions we were told to park in the designated spots of the House and Senate.  Of course they were out of session.  That seems to be the norm.

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On the approach it also looked very stately with a Dome.  But it was not gold gilded like Iowa State Capital.  We found out later Oklahoma’s capitol was designed 95 years ago to have a dome, but the money ran out and the work was not resumed until 2001. So for all those years.  The building was just flat, looking very stately but no dome.

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On the top if you look close is an Indian. The Guardian,” his body facing east in an Indian tradition and his face looking south, is 17 feet high but the entire structure, including a spear thrust into the ground at his feet, is 22 feet tall.  “The Guardian” is supposed to reflect Oklahoma’s heritage as the former Indian Territory. Nearly 40 Indian tribes call Oklahoma home, more than any other state.    Upon walking up to the building we realized that we came at the time of a major restoration, inside and out.  Scaffolding was covering a big portion of a wing.  We had boarded walkway to guide us to the entrance which was in the lower level.  Upon entering, of course we went through security and then on to the Visitor Center.  Their was a bunch of high school age kids and their teacher waiting for a tour.  We entered the very nice gift shop and visited with the very nice lady.  We had the option to tour our self or go with the group.  We decided to go with the kids as we might learn more.  A few minutes later our guide came and off we went.  Down the hall and up the stairs, turn, more stairs…..lol….Around the corner and look what we found.

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This is a 9ft.  bronze replica of the statue on guard at the top of the Dome.  On we went with the kids.

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We came to a Beautiful Grand staircase.  We kept going until we came to the rotunda featuring the State Seal.

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It was situated right under the dome.  You could look up through the circular openings in the floors, all the way to the top of the dome.

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It was magnificent.  At the very top is the State Seal and if you look closely you can see different levels that have railings around them.

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We walked up another floor, and looked down at the State Seal.  So impressive with all the granite everywhere.

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Now as we were trailing the kids, the tour guide said, “Don’t you have any questions?…Did you bring your pens and notebooks?”……Of course,  No Response.  They were just their to do the tour and have a fun day out….Notice the railings in the rotunda are all beautiful marble swirled.

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The stair railings were also all marble and wrought iron.  On we went.  The one thing we were disappointed in, was all the paintings or anything decorative and art items had been removed for remodeling.  So the walls were very plain.  But they were remodeling, so that was to be expected.

Oklahoma capitalThis  is what the rotunda looks like with some of the art and paintings on display.  Next we went to the Hall of the Governors.

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This room holds the sculptures of all the Oklahoma State Govenors.

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This painting is my favorite.  It is called “Flight of Spirit”.  The artist is Mike Larsen, who is of Chickasaw decent.  It is just beautiful.

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Here is another painting, depicting the history of Oklahoma.  The colors are so beautiful and vibrant.  Above is a stain glass curved window that lets light in

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Next we went to the Supreme Court.  It doesn’t look quite at large as I thought it would be but it was interesting.  Our guide gave us some good facts that I already forgot….lol…Guess I should have brought my pen and paper.

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‘Then on to the Senate.  The kids all sat at desks of the Senators as the tour guide talked.  You notice the balcony area,  it is open to the public to watch proceedings.  Some of it is glassed of so the noises of the news reporters cameras clicking are not heard.

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Out in the hall we came across another beautiful mural depicting the history of the oil industry.

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Now we entered the House of Representatives.  This time we were at the back of the room.  As you can see the balcony areas wrap all around the room.  If you look close, on the wall are the old fashion black bladed fans that are original and still can be used today.  The ceilings in both houses are stained glass.  At one time, they had been closed and sealed up to  make A/C more economical.  In the last decade, they decided to restore them to original.  They are beautiful.  At this time, it was the end of the guided tour.  We left the group and wandered a little our selves.  We finally left after about an hour and a half.

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Located on more than 100 acres in NE Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma State Capitol is the only capitol in the world surrounded by working oil wells. One is even named Petunia #1, because it was drilled in the middle of a flower bed.   In researching, I found several interesting pictures from the past.

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This one shows the many oil rigs around the capital.  It also shows the capital before the dome was added.  71225-004-CE0ECD1FAnother picture with all the oil rigs.  The capitol building is directly atop the Oklahoma City Oil Field.

Finally we headed back home.  We had 2 more days to enjoy.  I had wanted to go to Oklahoma City Myriad Botanical Gardens & Crystal Bridge.  It would have been so much walking, so we passed on that.  It was really hot so we just enjoyed the a/c, and did caught up on laundry.  We did so some shopping and found a Steak and Shake.

 

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Steak and Shake design of today

 

Now for those of you who don’t know, Steak and Shake started in Normal Illinois in 1934.  I grew up not far from their.  I thought it was only a local or Illinois chain.  They have the best Steak burgers, Chili, Chili Mac, and Chili 3 ways and skinny fries.  They are also famous for their old fashioned shakes…..

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When I was a teenager, they were drive in restaurants.  They offered curb service with carhops or eat in.  We would go to Peoria and cruise Main St.  Drive in and around Steak and Shake and back out again down Main. 

 

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Steak and Shake of the 50’s and 60’s

 

That’s what everyone did with cool cars.  A place for the guys and the girls to met…lol….Now I have found out they are in over 31 states and International.  They are only offer eat-in or drive-through now.  When Peru Illinois first built theirs, Tina was just 16.  She applied and got her first job their.  She just received her license and drove to Normal to get her training.  She did that several weeks.  I was a little leery but she did well.  She worked their for quite awhile.  They are open 24 hours, so she put in some very late nights.  I can’t believe I let her work till 2 am sometimes.  I wonder if that is even legal today.  So long story short, we went in and had a wonderful dinner.  I had my regular, Frisco Melt with fries covered with cheese.  It is 2 Steak burgers with American and Swiss cheese on buttery Sourdough bread, grilled to perfection with their Sweet and Tangy sauce inside.  Rich had a Triple burger and fries.  Mmmmm Mmm…good food.

We had a nice relaxing time at the campground.  We noticed it was so windy their.  Every day it just blew.  Also right by the office was a huge concrete storm shelter.  Oklahoma has so many tornadoes, they have to be prepared.  I was also planning on going swimming in their indoor pool, but the nite before some little kid made a deposit in the pool…..lol….The manager had to clean and drain it.  So much for that.  Finally Monday morning, we were told to be at the Rush Truck Shop at 8 am.  We drove about a mile and entered the yard and got in line.   Well the 8 am appointment ended up 1 pm.  We finally got in and were out by 2:30.  All that waiting for an hour and a half of service.  Oh Well, finally on the road again and heading south.  Next stop Johnson City Texas.  We have always wanted to tour the LBJ Ranch.   For those of you who are young,  LBJ stands for Lyndon Baines Johnson, our 36th President of the United States.  I was surprised how many do not know that.  Even the kids and grandkids had no idea.  I guess that shows our age.  We lived that chapter of history when President John F Kennedy was assassinated and Lyndon Baines Johnson was sworn into office on Air Force One.  We crossed into Texas finally and spent the nite at a campground.  On Tue. we drove on to Johnson City and found another campground.  On the way we had entered Hill Country.  It is the most beautiful area of Texas.

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The trees and landscape were so green.  The road wound up and down and around hills.  Some place you seen what looked like small mountains in the distance.  Such a beautiful area.  After we checked in, we started our touring of LBJs life in Johnson City and the Ranch west of town.   Next Blog……LBJs Boyhood Home and LBJs Ranch on the Perdernales River. Also known as the Western White House during his Presidency