You can’t even get into Johnson City, Texas, without being reminded of this small town’s ties to the White House. Johnson City was the hometown of the 36th U.S. President, Lyndon Baines Johnson, who served from 1963 (after the assassination of John F. Kennedy) until 1969.
We’ll get the feel for Johnson City’s presidential roots on the next page, with a visit to the LBJ settlement. But first, take a quick tour around town. It won’t take long — Johnson City only has about 1,200 residents.
You’ll find the Blanco County Courthouse near the center of town, a block north of Main Street, along the main access road from the north end of town, Nugent Avenue. The county moved its center of government from Blanco to Johnson City in 1890. The current courthouse dates back to 1916.
A drive through Johnson City doesn’t take long, but there’s one complex of old buildings that’s bound to catch your eye. At the big intersection (big by Johnson City standards) of Nugent and Main, you’ll spot the Feed Mill.
[tmt_info =””]The old feed mill dates back to 1880, when a grist mill and cotton gin was first built on this site for James Polk Johnson. Back then, it was known as Crofts Mill. In 1901, they added a flour mill, and in the 1930’s, converted it into a storehouse for agricultural feed. [/tmt_info]
On the corner, I found a small store, divided up between vendors, selling a variety of antiques and authentic Texas souvenirs. I picked up a few things to add significant weight to my checked luggage, including some horseshoes and a cast-iron Texas star (the kind you see on homes and businesses everywhere in Texas).
Half a block on up Nugent Avenue, you can stop for lunch at the Feed Mill Cafe. The restaurant was originally known as Tommy’s Fried Green Tomatoes. I suppose with the name change, it made sense to remove a couple of letters from the sign on the side of the building. Now the sign reads “O My Fried Green Tomatoes”.
Even if you’re not hungry, or in the mood to buy a souvenir, you can still have fun checking out all the “stuff” that covers the walls of the buildings in the Feed Mill complex.
[tmt_info =””]LBJ’s boyhood home is only about two blocks away from the Feed Mill. From Nugent Street, turn onto Elm, and go one block. I didn’t realize it was there, or else I would have driven by.[/tmt_info]
[tmt_info =””]Johnson City celebrates the prolific wildflowers that pop up around town and across the Texas Hill Country, during a month- long celebration every spring. The festival coincides with the arrival of the Texas Bluebonnets, which start to bloom in late March. Unfortunately, I was in town just a few weeks to early to see the blooms. You can get the latest information on Wildflower Days here.[/tmt_info]