Special Weekend of Holiday Activities

Table at the Johnson Cabin decorated with oil lamps and plates of cookies.

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News Release Date: December 7, 2013

Contact: Dave Schafer, 830-868-7128 x 235

Johnson City, Texas – On December 14 and 15, join the National Park Service in celebrating the holiday season and commemorating the events of 50 years ago. In Johnson City on Saturday, December 14, visitors can enjoy Christmas music by John Arthur Martinez, lamp-lit tours of President Johnson’s boyhood home, and a rare night-time opening of the frontier cabin of the president’s grandparents. In Stonewall on Sunday, December 15, visitors can join in a 50th anniversary commemoration of a barbecue held in the school gymnasium in 1963 in honor of German Chancellor Ludwig Erhard. All events are free and open to the public.   


Saturday, December 14 in Johnson City

Beginning at 5:00 pm on Saturday, December 14, the Friends of Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park and the Friends of Head Start Johnson City will partner with the park to host a festive evening of music, food, and fun. John Arthur Martinez, a singer and songwriter well-known to Texas Hill Country audiences, will perform holiday songs from his new album, “What a Christmas it Was.” During his performance near the president’s boyhood home on Elm Street (between F and G Streets) Martinez will invite children from the Head Start program in Johnson City to sing with him. In addition to several children’s activities, visitors can enjoy chili and cornbread while keeping an eye out for Santa Claus and his elves.

The annual “Timeless Christmas” event in Johnson City will take place on Saturday, December 14. Starting at 6:00 pm, visitors can partake in cookies and cider while stepping into the original log cabin President Johnson’s grandparents lived in during the 1860s and 1870s. Visitors can also greet a chuckwagon cook, evoking the days when the president’s grandfather drove longhorn cattle up the Chisholm Trail. To see the cabin, visitors can board a bus at the president’s boyhood home for free shuttle rides to the Johnson Settlement.

Sunday, December 15 in Stonewall

“The personal friendship that has grown yesterday and today has been a good beginning for a hopeful future for our two countries,” said Chancellor Ludwig Erhard of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) in the Stonewall school gymnasium on December 29, 1963. Chancellor Erhard expressed his gratitude to his hosts, President and Mrs. Johnson, during the “Sparerib Summit” barbecue held in Erhard’s honor, the first world leader to visit the new president. As Erhard and Johnson dined on barbecue ribs, German potato salad, and Texas cole slaw, they watched Fredericksburg students perform German music and dances. Richard “Cactus” Pryor served as master of ceremonies and introduced world-renowned concert pianist Van Cliburn. Cliburn’s virtuosity impressed the German contingent as he performed works by Beethoven, Brahms, and Schumann.

Beginning at 3:00 pm on Sunday, December 15, visitors can learn and—for those old enough to remember—reminisce about the historic barbecue that brought world attention to Stonewall, Texas. In the same gymnasium where the barbecue was held (220 Peach Street) park rangers will describe the event, present a short film highlighting scenes from the barbecue, and display photographs of Chancellor Erhard’s trip to Texas.

Jewell Malechek Scott, the wife of former LBJ Ranch foreman Dale Malechek, will share her memories of the barbecue and other stories of the dramatic time a half-century ago when Lyndon Johnson brought the US presidency to the Texas Hill Country.


After the program in the Stonewall gymnasium the Stonewall Chamber of Commerce will co-host a reception from 3:45 to 5:00 pm in its nearby facility (250 Peach Street). The Friends of Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park will provide food and drink in the spirit of the fare served at the 1963 barbecue. Western National Parks Association will raffle several items from its sales inventory at the park, including a Stetson hat like those given to the German guests in 1963. “Dutch Treat,” featuring Melvin (“Scottie”) and Linda Scott, will perform accordion-based German polkas and waltzes during the reception. The Stonewall Heritage Society will bake homemade cookies for the occasion. At6:00 pm, everyone is encouraged to attend the annual LBJ Christmas Tree Lighting event at the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site near Stonewall. 


The program and reception on December 15 will be a community event to gather memories, encourage dialogue, and provide chances for everyone to look ahead to other ways to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Johnson presidency. People attending the event are encouraged to bring photographs, newspapers, and other memorabilia from that time to share.


Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park is open seven days a week, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. For more information on this and other park activities call 830-868-7128 and visit www.nps.gov/lyjo and www.facebook.com/pages/Lyndon-B-Johnson-National-Historical-Park.


Last updated: February 24, 2015

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Mailing Address:

100 Ladybird Lane
P.O. Box 329

Johnson City, TX 78636


(830) 868-7128

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