Friday, January 18, 2013

Presidential Sites Part 2: A Day with LBJ

Last spring I was lucky enough to spend some time in Austin TX…vacation time not work travel time so it was even luckier than normal J.  I shared some of my visit here
What I didn’t share yet was the real reason I wanted to go to Austin other than that I had heard it was a phenomenal city (which I have to agree it is) was that I had been wanting to go to the Lyndon Johnson library.  After my day at the Reagan Library (and a visit to the Carter Library many years ago when I lived in Atlanta) I was really anxious to spend some time learning about a “before my time” (sort of) president.

Lyndon Baines & Ladybird Johnson with Yuki (the dog)
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So, my first day in Austin I headed over to the University of Texas with hopes of a day filled with  fascinating facts and artifacts.  

The Johnson's White House china - they had 216 place settings!
It was designed by Tiffany and mfg’d by Castleton (in the USA). 
The design includes wildflower representing every state.

Well…in the vein of things often not turning out the way I expect, the LBJ library was mostly closed undergoing a renovation…BOO!  There were a few exhibits open so I did go through those but it was a very quick tour….

Lady Bird Johnson's White House office - don't you just love the color?  So dated yet so super cool!

LBJ's Oval Office
The other side of the Johnson Oval Office.  How cool is that James Bond like telephone drawer in the table?  And
a portrait of FDR over the fire apropos 

Unlike the Reagan Library the LBJ Library is on the University of Texas campus in the middle of the city so not so picturesque.

The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum on the University of Texas Austin campus

The information desk was kind enough to share that the Texas White House aka LBJ’s Ranch was just a short driving distance though so off I headed.  Short distance being relative and we’re talking Texas here, it was a bit farther than expected (well over an hour) but definitely worth the drive. 

Lyndon Baines Johnson's Ranch aka the Texas White House
100 Ladybird Ln  Johnson City, TX 78636
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The Ranch at night - I just thought this was really such a beautiful picture so I had to share
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Not only did I get to check out his boyhood home and the Ranch where he spent his adulthood but I also saw a bit of the Texas Hill Country…quite a sight for a native New Englander!
Much of the original decor is in place and it’s so easy to just imagine the family residing here.  The tour is a guided tour and we had a wonderful guide who was just full of true life stories of both President Johnson and Ladybird.

The living/family room - I'm pretty sure those green chairs look just like the one I had reupholstered for my bedroom that
I had bought for $25 at an estate sale a while back.  You can see my updated chair here
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The Johnson's dining room...very understated for a President don't you think.  How cool is that telephone
mounted on the edge of the table.  The tour guide said Ladybird was mortified LBJ insisted on using that office
chair at the table but she couldn't get him to use a regular dining chair.
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I think one of my favorite things was their closets.  Being a bit of a clothes horse and having an absolute love of vintage clothes it was so cool to see the clothes still hanging and to know that they were worn by the leader of the free world less than 50 years ago. 

Lady Bird's closet...I can only just imagine what they took out
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I got a kick out of the kitchen and how similar it is to what I consider my very outdated kitchen…same cabinets, same old school counter tops (except mine are beige not sunny yellow).  I’m sure it was highest of decor design in LBJ’s day…not so much now…

The Johnson Kitchen...I do have to say I'm drooling a little over that range
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LBJ's Texas cute is that dog picture?
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The other side of LBJ's Texas Christmas...quite understated holiday decorations but definitely pretty
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I will have to go back when the library is open for the real experience but it turned out great that instead I toured the Texas White House especially appreciated since I likely wouldn't have made the drive had the library been open.

Linking on:  Between Naps on the Porch, Savvy Southern Style, Mod Vintage Life, Coastal Charm, Jennifer Rizzo, The Dedicated House, Sunny Simple Life


  1. Thanks for sharing a part of history. My, how decor has changed. It's always taking a peek into lovely homes. From your newest follower, Linda

  2. What a fabulous day you must have had! I loved seeing the photos, thanks! Somehow I would have expected them to live more lavishly, but perhaps it was the age they lived in, their house is lovely, isn't it.


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