LBJ Ranch & State Park

This was an unplanned stop along our route from Sonora to Austin.

We needed to eat lunch anyway, we have both a Texas State park pass and a National Park pass, so we figured it’s free, let’s check it out. I’m sooo glad we did! I really did not enjoy history growing up. I was not good at picturing it in my head and keeping the timelines straight. But I am enjoying history much more as an adult and these living museums make it so fun and fascinating.

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We started on the Sauer-Beckmann Farmstead, a living history farm, presented as it was in 1918,¬†where a gentleman whose family has farmed the area for generations and another lady were there to show and tell us about life back at the turn of the century. She actually cooks the lunch dinner for all the workers there everyday on the wood burning stove! And she made cookies that morning – in the wood burning oven! They had just slaughtered a 750lb pig days before and they showed us the sausages that were being cured. They showed us the lard that would preserved the sausages for the next year. She showed us how to prepare and spin the sheep’s wool. They talked about the history of the area – the gentleman had some relatives that were part of the child kidnappings! The Indians used to kidnap the kids in the area.

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We loved seeing the LBJ Ranch and learning about his Presidency. It is still a working ranch with Hereford cattle descended from his/his families’ cattle. He loved attending the legislature with his dad.

He was a school teacher (explains his passion for education!) He believed “the only true passport our of poverty was education.” We saw the one room school house he attended as a child.

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There were cars (he owned an Amphibious car and loved to scare people that didn’t know it was amphibious!) and his Air Force One airplane. He was the first VP to have a plane dedicated to him.

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There was a sweet phone call recorded where he insisted former President Truman? use his plane at anytime – not a commercial airplane. And of course the house – The Texas Whitehouse. We chose not to tour it since we still had a ways to drive and set up camp! But we got to walk around and I can see why he loved the area. They are right on the Pedernales River and it’s gorgeous there!

It was quite a wonderful unplanned stop – and hey it counts as school!! ūüôā

LBJ on the way

Steph already posted on this but here is my take on it.

Between Sonora and Austin we noticed that we’d be passing the LBJ National Historic site (and its also a Texas State Park). ¬†It looked like it would align well with our lunch stop so we put it in our sites and before long we were at the beautiful park. ¬†We thought this was going to be a quick look through a museum or something and then we’d be on our way again. ¬†But when the ranger showed me the map there was a LOT to see.

First stop was the historic homestead site that was loosely tied to LBJ (I think the midwife that delivered him maybe lived in that house….I can’t remember). ¬†But there was a couple dressed in period clothing there that were so great with the kids. ¬†They told all about how they cooked and cleaned, how they preserved food and they gave lots of Texas history. ¬†The coolest part was they still actively operate the homestead. ¬†Everyday they cook lunch for the volunteers in that kitchen. ¬†They had chili and chocolate cookies….so the oven still had hot coals in it. ¬†They had just butchered a pig and turned it into sausage which were hanging out in a shed. ¬†Last year’s sausages were still being eaten and were stored in a vat of lard for preservative (which was also hand cream). ¬†Past years lard was then converted to lye soap. ¬†They spun wool, made candles….the whole enchilada! ¬†I love that kind of stuff.

Next was a brief stop at the one room school house that LBJ attended as a youngin’ before we went on the scenic drive around his ranch which ended at the hangar and Texas white house. ¬†The hangar had his airplane (he was the first VP to have his own plane and the first president to use a jet plane rather than prop plane). ¬†There was a small but interesting museum part of which had a collection of his cars including the amphicar! ¬†The kids got their Jr Ranger badges (no patches here….argh) and then we took a look around the outside of the Texas white house. ¬†Tours of the house were actually free for the day (because they were doing some work inside)…but we needed to get back on the road or we’d be setting up in the dark….again!

Its definitely worth a stop if you have the chance.