Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site is in Gillespie County, between Fredericksburg and Johnson City, and contains 717.9 acres. Lyndon B. Johnson State Historical Park honors a native Texan who achieved the nation's highest office. To create the unique facility, friends of then President Johnson raised money to purchase property directly across the Pedernales River from the LBJ Ranch. In 1965, this land was accepted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and the park was opened in 1970.
The park's location is historically significant since it is in the heart of the former President's home country. The area has been influenced by three major cultures: Native Americans, Spanish and German. Indians roamed the Hill Country first, leaving behind artifacts which tell of their nomadic life. The Spanish conquistadors followed, bringing a culture which was to endure to the present. German immigrants settled the Hill Country in the early 1800s and their descendants still call it home. Their culture has had a major impact on the development of the region and the park itself. All of these cultures are represented at the park. The 269-acre facility was officially dedicated in August 1970 in a ceremony attended by the Johnson family and a host of dignitaries. Since the dedication, the park has been expanded to approximately 732.75 acres.
Visitors to this day-use park can enjoy historical study, picnicking, nature study, fishing, swimming and view Texas longhorn cattle. The abundant wildlife of the Hill Country is highlighted by enclosures containing buffalo, longhorn, and white-tailed deer. These animals have played a part in the park's history and the local wildlife continues to be an important attraction for visitors. The park is famous for its spring wildflower display.
The Visitor Center is the focal point of Lyndon B. Johnson State Historical Park. It contains memorabilia from President Johnson's presidency and interactive displays about the Land and People that shaped a president. Attached to the Visitors Center is the Behrens Cabin, a two-room dogtrot cabin built by German immigrant H. C. Behrens during the 1870s. The furnishings are typical of such homes in that period. Visitors can further explore the history of these immigrants by viewing the 1860s Danz family log cabin located just west of the Visitor Center. An auditorium in the visitor center complex will accommodate 234 persons for state performances or films. An outdoor amphitheater is used for a variety of programs. A nature trail, including a Hill Country botanical exhibit, winds past wildlife enclosures stocked with bison, white-tailed deer, wild turkey, other native wildlife and longhorn cattle.
Bus tours of the LBJ Ranch are conducted by the LBJ National Historical Park and start at the State Park Visitor Center. The tours pass by the one-room Junction School first attended by the four-year-old Lyndon B. Johnson in 1912 and stop by his reconstructed birthplace and the nearby Johnson family cemetery where the former President is buried. Tours also go throughout the working LBJ Ranch where cattle still are raised. A fee is charged for the tour. More information on N.P.S. tours at LBJ ranch. The Sauer-Beckmann Farmstead
Located east of the visitor center and off the nature trail, is a living history farm. Life on the farmstead is presented as it was in 1918. Park interpreters wear period clothing, do the farm and household chores as they were done at that time and also conduct tours for the visitors.
The Sauer-Beckmann Farm - Rural Life, 1900-1918: When visitors can smell lunch being cooked on a wood-burning stove, they are close to the Sauer-Beckmann Living Farm! Here, costumed interpreters carry out the day-to-day activities of a turn-of-the-century Texas-German farm family. Some chores are seasonal, such as canning and butchering. Farm animals, however, must be cared for on a daily basis, including activities like feeding, milking, gathering eggs and slopping the hogs. Also, the house is cleaned, meals are cooked, butter is churned and cheese is made. Visitors may see the "family" scrubbing the floors with homemade lye soap, or plowing the garden with a team of horses. The setting for the present-day living history activities is an authentic Hill Country farm. Johann and Christine Sauer, along with their four children, settled this land in 1869. Their family prospered and grew and, by 1885, several stone buildings were built near the original rock and log cabins. Eventually, the Sauers had 10 children. One of those, Augusta Sauer Lindig, served as midwife at the birth of President Johnson.
The Beckmann family acquired the property in 1900. A good cotton crop in 1915 allowed Emil and Emma Beckmann to build a new barn, to add a frame room onto the old rock structure and to construct porches connecting to a lovely Victorian house covered with fashionable pressed tin. In 1966, Edna Beckmann Hightower sold the site to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Archeological surveying and restoration work was undertaken and the farm opened to the public in 1975. Since then, time has stood still and the farm remains forever a small piece of Texas as it was at the beginning of the 20th century. Park visitors can experience the farm at their leisure and groups can make arrangements for tours.
Individuals and families are welcome to visit at their leisure. The nature trail, grounds, and day-use picnic areas are open until dark. Park buildings are open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. year-round, except Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day, to coincide with the closing of LBJ National Historical Park. There is no gate, so on those days visitors will still have access to the nature trails, picnic areas, fishing in the Pedernales River, wildlife viewing at the wildlife enclosures, etc.
Fishing is available in the Pedernales River.
Tours of the complex, including the Sauer-Beckmann farm with its smokehouse, Victorian style house, garden, and log house lasts approximately an hour; group reservations are accepted. No entrance fee is required, but donation boxes are available. Individuals and families can take the tour on a first-come, first-serve basis. For group tours, call 830/644-2252, Ext. 229.
Directly across the Pedernales River from the LBJ State Park is the LBJ Ranch, part of LBJ National Historical Park. Self-guided tours of the Ranch begin at the LBJ State Park Visitor Center. Among the sites on the Ranch are the one-room Junction School first attended by the four-year-old Lyndon B. Johnson in 1912, reconstructed birthplace and nearby Johnson family cemetery where the former President is buried, and the Texas White House. The drive also takes visitors through the pasturelands where Hereford cattle, descended from those owned by President Johnson, can be viewed.
Self-guided tours of the LBJ Ranch begin at the LBJ State Park Visitor Center and are available daily, except Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's Day, when the national park is closed. For more information & hours of operation, visit the LBJ National Historical Park web site.
Shaded and unshaded picnic areas area available to visitors. There is also a baseball field and tennis courts. These can be reserved through the park.
A swimming pool is available for visitors. Contact the park to check the hours.
July average high is 95; January average low is 36.
The park is located 2 miles east of Stonewall, 14 miles west of Johnson City on US Highway 290 toward Fredericksburg. Adjacent to both Ranch Road 1 and US Highway 290; enter on Park Road 52.