| History in
a Pecan Shell
Named after James Polk Johnson who was one of the original settlers.
In 1876 an election was called to move the county seat more toward
the center of the county. Defeated, the settlers decided to build
a community that might rival Blanco
for the title. The site chosen was on Johnson's land. A post office
was granted in 1878 and a newspaper was published in 1883. In 1879
another election for county seat was held and Johnson City was defeated.
The town grew and by 1890, after a hard-won election, Johnson City
became the county seat.
In the 1930s Johnson City was still without utilities until Lyndon
Baines Johnson sponsored legislation that created the Lower Colorado
River Authority and the Pedernales (River) Electric Cooperative.
During Johnson's vice-presidency and presidency, the town became a
tourist attraction - which it continues to be. Johnson later deeded
the family property to the government, creating what is now the LBJ
National Historical Park.
From 52 businesses in that period, 26 dissolved by the mid-1980s.
Landmarks / Attractions
|The Old Blanco
County Jail in Johnson City
Barr, April 2021
Home in Johnson City
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
200 E. Elm St.
Photo courtesy William
Beauchamp, June 2009
Boyhood Home - Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park. SE corner
of E. Elm St. and S. Avenue G. (aka 100 Ladybird Lane)
L. B. J. Boyhood
Sam Ealy Johnson
Jr. (1877-1937) and his wife Rebekah Baines Johnson (1881-1958) bought
this residence in 1913. Sam, an educator and six-term Texas legislator,
and Rebekah, an educator and journalist, raised five children here.
The frame house was built in 1901, with simple Classical details and
decorative bargeboards of milled wood. Each wing is one room deep
for light and ventilation. Various porches, open and enclosed, indicate
additions over the years. In 1937, the Johnson's eldest son, Lyndon
(1908-1973), launched his first campaign for Congress, and his ascent
to the U.S. presidency, from the east porch.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1965.
North Nugent Street (Spur 356), inside cemetery by the flagpole
In 1892, local
masons Joseph Bird, W.H. Withers and G.M. Nash, on behalf of Johnson
City Masonic Lodge No. 561, purchased land at this site from Julia
Ann Moore Jjohnson, widow of town founder James Polk Johnson. Early
marked graves date from the 1890s and include many community leaders,
as well as veterans of military conflicts from the War of 1812 to
Vietnam. Also Interred here is the celebrated Texas Ranger Cicero
Rufus Perry (d. 1898). With over 250 graves, the historic Johnson
City Masonic Cemetery is an important reminder of early settlers.
Historic Texas Cemetery - 2002
Home Town of Lyndon B. Johnson
Photo courtesy William
Beauchamp, June 2009
School, Johnson City, Texas"
courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
201 South Avenue F
Lyndon B. Johnson and Hill Country Electrification
BY THE 1930s, MANY RESIDENTS OF CITIES ACROSS THE U.S. WERE BENEFITING
FROM THE COMMON USE OF ELECTRICITY. HOWEVER, A VAST MAJORITY OF RURAL
AREAS LACKED ELECTRIC SERVICE, WHICH COMPOUNDED DEPRESSION-ERA PROBLEMS
FOR FARMERS WHOSE CROP RETURNS WERE ALREADY MEAGER. IN 1935, PRESIDENT
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT ESTABLISHED THE RURAL ELECTRIFICATION ADMINISTRATION
(REA) TO MAKE LOANS TO COOPERATIVES ESTABLISHED BY THE FARMERS THEMSELVES.
ALTHOUGH THE REA QUICKLY HELPED BRING ELECTRICITY TO RURAL AMERICA,
ITS PROGRAM DID NOT EXTEND TO THE TEXAS HILL COUNTRY, WHOSE SPARSE
POPULATION DID NOT MEET QUALIFICATIONS.
IN 1937, FUTURE PRESIDENT LYNDON B. JOHNSON WORKED TO BRING ELECTRICITY
TO THE AREA, A PROMISE HE MADE DURING HIS SUCCESSFUL RUN FOR THE U.S.
CONGRESS THAT YEAR. HIS PLAN FOCUSED ON TWO LOWER COLORADO RIVER DAMS:
BURNET COUNTY AND
MARSHALL FORD (NOW MANSFIELD)
IN TRAVIS COUNTY.
JOHNSONíS APPEALS TO ROOSEVELT AND GOVERNMENT AGENCIES LED TO AN EASING
OF THE REAíS REQUIREMENTS. RANCHER E. BABE SMITH JOINED JOHNSON IN
CANVASSING HIS DISTRICT TO CONVINCE FARMERS TO PAY $5 DEPOSITS, WHICH
WOULD ALLOW THE PEDERNALES ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE (PEC) TO BUILD INFRASTRUCTURE
AND SELL POWER.
IN 1938, WITH ABOUT 3,300 FAMILIES SIGNED FOR ELECTRIC SERVICE, THE
REA AWARDED THE PEC A LOAN TO BUILD OVER 1,700 MILES OF ELECTRIC LINES,
THE LARGEST ALLOTMENT EVER MADE BY THE ADMINISTRATION. IN THE FALL
OF 1939, ELECTRICITY BEGAN TO FLOW. THE PEC BECAME THE NATIONíS LARGEST
ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE AND REMAINS AMONG THE DOZENS OF OTHER SUCH COOPERATIVES
ACROSS TEXAS. LYNDON JOHNSONíS WORK WAS ESSENTIAL IN THEIR FORMATION
AND THE EXPANSION OF ELECTRIFICATION IN THE TEXAS HILL COUNTRY.
175 YEARS OF TEXAS INDEPENDENCE * 1836-2011
| Johnson City
the Pearl in Johnson City by Michael Barr
Ghost on Highway 281 by C.F. Eckhardt ("Charley Eckhardt's
"...About a year and a half later John was in the old Jailhouse
Barber Shop in Blanco, and he mentioned seeing the guy with the
knife alongside 281. "Oh," somebody said, "you saw Lackey's ghost."
... As it turned out, John wasn't the only person who'd seen Lackey
trying to hitch a ride north toward Johnson City. A lot of people
were aware of him. Truckers don't like to drive that stretch on
and East Texas Politics by Archie P. McDonald ("All Things
Mysteries of Buffalo Cave by Michael Barr
Buffalo Cave, near Johnson City in Blanco County, has been a place
of mystery since cattlemen first discovered its dark entrance while
grazing their herds along the Pedernales River in the 1800s.
Slow Night at the Blanco County Jail by Michael Barr
Bear Bites Rancher
by Michael Barr
| Bill Cammack
in Johnson City
Fredericksburg Standard April 19, 1972
Courtesy Fredericksburg Standard
| Johnson City
Hill Country Science Mill
The Hill Country Science Mill is housed in a community landmark
in the heart of Johnson City, Texas. The feed mill built in 1880
as a steam grist mill and cotton gin featured unique mechanical
innovations that were used to process, sort and distribute grain
to its rural community. The original steam mill was converted to
a flour mill in 1901 and later was converted to electrical power
and evolved into a feed mill in the 1930's. The mill ceased operation
in the 1980's and was converted into a restaurant and entertainment
complex. While a majority of the site and the mill have been dormant
for the past 20 years, the mill has inspired photographers, muralists,
and curious travelers who have been captivated by its romantic and
The Hill Country Science Mill recycles a historic community landmark
into a gathering place for the community and a forum for science
exploration. The design was conceived not as a contrast between
new and old, but as the dynamic evolution of the mill from a place
of industrial production to a place that can produce science leaders
for the new generation.
The Science Mill is a fascinating slice of history, especially now
that it's been transformed into a state-of-the-art science museum!
- Nicole P. Basham, September 1, 2016
County 1940s map
From Texas state map #4335
Texas General Land Office
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