Texas Hill Country Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

Johnson City


Johnson City was named Blanco County seat in 1890, a title formerly claimed by neighboring community Blanco, with the help of businessman James Polk Johnson whose efforts to boost the local economy paid off. A hotly contested election determined the switch shortly after Johnson added a two-story office building and a hotel to the developing frontier community. It would take another forty years and clout of a much larger political nature to bring modern utilities to Johnson City, however, a result of efforts by native son Lyndon Baines Johnson. LBJ sponsored legislation to introduce electric power to the region under the Lower Colorado River Authority and the Pedernales Electric Cooperative. Telephone service progressed from magnetic box phones to worldwide service once LBJ became U.S. Senator and, as President, he donated his own land to establish what we now call the Lyndon Baines Johnson National Historical Park. Johnson City always seemed to draw tourists anyway thanks to its ruggedly beautiful Hill Country location and, today, parks and preserves top visitor lists alongside the LBJ National Historical Park including nearby Pedernales Falls State Park, a favorite summer retreat for Texans, and the LBJ State Park & Historical Site. In town, the Classical Revival stone courthouse, built in 1916 and designed by Henry Truman Phelps, adds to the community’s robust heritage while continuing to service county business today.