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 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 American, 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 facility was officially dedicated in August 1970 in a ceremony attended by the Johnson family and a host of dignitaries.
A living history farm, interpreters wear period clothing, do the farm and household chores as they were done at that time.
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.