Fredericksburg, Texas is known for its wineries, wonderful shopping, and delicious German Food. But for history buffs like me, the little city packs a punch of pioneer, World War II, and 1960s history. Just a walk downtown makes you feel transported back in time.
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Fredericksburg, Texas: A Whole Lot of History!
During our recent Texas road trip, Joe and I visited three different museums in and around Fredericksburg, Texas. They were all completely different from each other and a history lover’s dream!
Lyndon B. Johnson National Park
Twenty-five minutes outside of Fredericksburg in the town of Stonewall, Texas is the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park comprising several parks in one: Sauer-Beckmann Farmstead, LBJ Ranch and the Texas White House. The visitor’s center offers you an overview of the life and contributions of President Johnson and the First Lady, Ladybird Johnson through two two 30-minute movies. Although entrance to the park is free, there is a nominal $3.00 charge for a guided tour of the Texas White House. Give yourself at lease two-three hours to see the entire park.
Be sure to stop at the following:
Sauer-Beckmann Farmstead is a living history farm, recreated as it appeared and functioned in 1918. Museum guides dress in clothing of the period and operate the farm using the early 20th-century era’s tools and implements. If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen may apply to the visitors, but not the museum guide staff who prepare, cook actual meals and clean without modern day conveniences of AC, refrigeration, electricity or appliances.
LBJ Ranch and Texas Whitehouse is where Lyndon Johnson was born, raised, and lived until his death in 1973. Ladybird continued to live in the main house part-time until her death in 2007. Upon her death the furniture that was present during LBJ’s presidency was moved back into the Texas Whitehouse recreating what it looked like during his term. A tour of the bottom floor (top floor is closed to the public) is like stepping back into the 60s. I wish I had pictures to share, but photography is prohibited inside the house. Per the Johnson’s request the park remains free to the public and ranch is self sustaining.
No visit to Fredericksburg is complete without a visit to the Pioneer Museum. The museum celebrates the German settlers that first called the hill country home. Many of the structures are in their original location. Located in downtown Fredericksburg, right on main street, the museum is open 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday- Saturday (closed Sundays), and fees are $5 for adults, $3 for ages 6-17, 5 and younger are free. We were able to see everything in about an hour.
Pacific War Museum
When we first bought our tickets ($14 for adults, discounts for students, seniors, and military) for the Pacific War Museum, we were told to allow around three hours to see everything. I’m a pretty fast reader, so I thought No Way! Well, Yes Way! Located over 6 acres in downtown Fredericksburg, this museum is amazingly well designed. The exhibits are interactive with videos and recorded interviews from veterans and their spouses of the Pacific war. War footage is used extensively throughout every part of the museum. Every time we turned a corner, there was more to see.
We particularly enjoyed the Admiral Nimitz museum which is located in the original Pacific War Museum Building. Although not as well know as MacArthur or Patton, Nimitz worked hard on his family’s hill country farm and put himself through college. A true testament to the American “can do” spirit!
Besides the main Pacific War Museum and Nimitz museum, the complex also includes: George W. Bush Gallery, Japanese Garden of Peace, the Memorial Courtyard, the Parade of Presidents who were veterans, and a research facility. So yes, you need three full hours to tour the entire history-rich complex.
So history lovers, if you haven’t been to Fredericksburg, Texas, what are you waiting on? My favorite American history period is World War II. Do you have a favorite historical period or type of museum? Please comment below. We’d love to hear your thoughts!
For wine, food, outdoor, and history lovers, put a visit to Fredericksburg, Texas on your calendar as soon as possible! You’ll love all that Fredericksburg has to offer.
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