History

President Lyndon B. Johnson wearing a cowboy hatLyndon and Lady Bird in the wildflowers.Lyndon B. Johnson was the 36th president of the United States, but he was also a son of the Texas Hill Coun­try. He was born across the river on the LBJ Ranch and retired there after leav­ing the White House.

To honor him and his her­i­tage, some of his friends raised money to purchase 269 acres of land directly across the Peder­nales River from the LBJ Ranch. They donated the land to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 1965, and the park opened in 1970. Today, the park encom­passes 700 acres.

Early influences

Three cultures left their marks upon this part of Texas.

Native Americans roamed here for about 13,000 years, leaving behind artifacts which tell of their nomadic life.

Spanish conquistadores followed, leaving traces of their culture as well. Look for their influence in place names. For example, “Pedernales” comes from a Spanish word for the flint rocks found in the riverbed.

German immigrants settled the Hill Coun­try in the early 1800s; their descen­dants still live in this area. You can see how they lived and farmed here in the park, and experience their architecture, food, lan­guage and more in nearby towns like Stonewall, Hye and Fredericksburg.

German farmers

Looking up at historic log cabin across a field of red wildflowers.
Danz cabin

Several German farming families made their homes on land that is now part of the park. Many of the struc­tures they built are still standing.

Danz family

The Danz family built their dogtrot cabin on a scenic spot overlooking fields above the Pedernales River some­time in the 1860s. Stand on the porch and imag­ine their life here, a long horse or wagon ride from town (and no high­way in the dis­tance).

Sauer family

Johann and Christine Sauer and their four children settled this land in 1869. The family prospered and grew. By 1885, they had added several stone buildings near the original rock and log cab­ins. These struc­tures are pre­served today as part of the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm.

The Sauers had 10 children. One of those, Augusta Sauer Lindig, served as midwife at the birth of President Johnson.

Beckmann family

Emil and Otto Beckmann moved to the property in 1900. A good cotton crop in 1915 paid for a new barn, a frame room tacked onto the old rock house, and porches connecting the rock house to a new Victorian house covered with fashionable pressed tin.

Preserving history

Edna Beckmann Hightower sold the land to TPWD in 1966. The property had been home to the Sauers and Beckmanns for 97 years. Today, TPWD preserves the legacy of the Danz and Behrens cabins and the Sauer and Beckmann farms.

Other aspects of history are protected here as well: American bison and Texas longhorns.