The National Park Service announced that it will close the “Texas White House,” once the ranch home of President Lyndon Baines Johnson and his family in Stonewall, as well as the adjacent Pool House, until further notice due to health and safety concerns arising from structural issues.
For decades, these were the most private zones of the ranch, part of the LBJ National Historical Park that, until 2012, were reserved for the Johnson family and not generally open to the public.
RELATED: Exploring the inside of the Texas White House.
The Park Service said it will investigate the safety concerns, which include closing both facilities. They will remain closed until the service can confirm that the facilities do not pose safety concerns.
The modest buildings, preserved in 1960s styles, look less like the headquarters of the world’s most powerful person and more like a relaxing retreat where your beloved country relatives live. That as, until one notices the three attached televisions ready to broadcast the three big networks of the time.
“They just weren’t showy people,” Russ Whitlock, former superintendent of the LBJ National Historical Park, said when the buildings were opened to the public in 2012. “The ranch and the ranch house take the Johnsons off the pedestal of president and first lady and make them into people we can relate to.”
In his recent book, “LBJ’s 1968: Power, Politics and the Presidency in America’s Year of Upheaval,” Ken Longley, the newly named director of the LBJ Presidential Library, describes how the ranch served as a safety valve for the sometimes volcanic LBJ, especially during his traumatic final year in office. Repeatedly during 1968, the president retreated to the ranch, took a swim, then a ate a snack on TV trays, or a tooled around the Hill Country with family or friends to relax.
Today, all other park facilities are open to the public. These include the Johnson settlement, President Johnson’s boyhood home, and the park visitor center in Johnson City. The LBJ Ranch driving tour is not affected, and the LBJ Ranch hangar visitor center is open as normal.