Wednesday, April 17, 2024

LBJ National Historical Park Visitor Center

LBJ was born in 1908 in a farmhouse near Stonewall, Texas where he spent the first five years of his life before his family moved to Johnson City, a rural town and county seat that was founded in 1879 by  James P. Johnson, his father's cousin. At the time only a few hundred people lived in Johnson City. The electric grid hadn't expanded to rural areas and houses didn't have running water. The family struggled due to his father's faltering political career and business failures. His childhood experiences in Johnson City affected LBJ for the rest of his life and influenced his support of the Great Society programs

The visitor center and walking tour of the Johnson Settlement is one half of the LBJ NHP. The other half, which we visited in 2022, is 14 miles west at the ranch that Johnson bought in 1961. I recommend visiting both areas. The visitor center at Johnson City covers LBJ's early years and his political career. The walking tour is about a mile long with interpretive signs and stops at LBJ's boyhood home, the general store which is now the chamber of commerce and has a few exhibits about Johnson City, an exhibit center, LBJ's grandfather cabin, and two barns. 

The visitor center is accessible. The walking tour starts in  town then makes a loop through Johnson family farmland. The sidewalks and curb cuts in town are in fair condition.The boyhood home was not opened during our visit. It does have ramps but they may be too steep. The general store has an ADA compliant ramp. The farmland part of the tour travels over a finely crushed stone trail. This trail is steep at the beginning so wheelchair users may need assistance. Most of the tour is accessible although accessing the ramp at the log cabin involves a trip over lumpy grassy ground. The exhibit center is undergoing renovation. 
Follow the signs to the RV parking spaces in the lot east of the visitor center. A paved path goes to the visitor center. LBJ Park  30.27462, -98.41003

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