Martin Barn

A red horse weather vane sits atop a dark green rooftop.
A weather vane tops the historic 1930s Martin Barn

NPS Photo / Jack Burton

Quick Facts

Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits

The historic barn was constructed by the Judge Clarence and Frank Martin—the president's uncle and aunt—in the 1930s. Over thirty years later, President Johnson wanted to tear down the structure. However, the family's architect, Roy White, felt that the barn complemented the landscape as well as the house, and family friends also pleaded for its preservation. In the end, the barn was saved and rehabilitated.

Before construction of the Klein Shop in 1967 and before ranching operations were moved northwest of the airstrip, the barn had adjacent corrals. Four pens, a chute alley and a grass patch could work up to 60 cattle at a time. By the mid-1960s, the cattle operation had grown as had the function of the Texas White House. Increased activity of White House Communications and the US Secret Service-as well as Mrs. Johnson's displeasure with the livestock smell and noise—prompted the move to the current Show Barn.

Today, the historic Martin Barn contains exhibits on the famous LBJ Ranch barbecues held down in the live oak grove along the river.

Lyndon B Johnson National Historical Park

Last updated: November 7, 2021