Johnson City, featured in the August issue of Texas Monthly, is located at the crossroads of the Texas Hill Country and provides the perfect getaway where you can visit our historic areas and enjoy our art galleries which include Taste Wine + Art, Western Art & Artifacts, A. Smith Gallery, and LMC Murals. You’ll also enjoy visits to our local vineyards, the famous Whittington’s Jerky General Store, Black Spur Emporium and Coffee Shop, Kara’s, The Treasure Chest, Pieces of the Past, The Old Lumberyard, DeLeon’s Outpost, The Historic Pearl, Hop To It Home Brew, and more!
Looking for somewhere to stay while you’re here? No problem, we have a Best Western as well as the Hill Country Inn. Thinking more of a Bed & Breakfast or cabin? Our choices include the Chantilly Lace Country Inn, Country Cabins Bed & Breakfast, Lighthouse Hill Ranch, The Sandy Road Guest Haus, Songbird Meadows B & B, Hillside Acres, Stanton Ranch vacation rental, and Exotic Zoo Resort Cabins. We also offer several conveniently located RV Parks and Resorts, including Miller Creek RV Resort, Road Runner RV Park, and Pedernales Falls State Park.
Take time to visit our historical area, the LBJ National Historical State Park, which includes LBJ’s boyhood home and the Johnson Settlement. Guided tours are provided at the boyhood home at no cost. Nearby in Stonewall, you can also visit the Western White House, the home of LBJ and Ladybird, where the entire first floor is now available to tour.
You can also explore our state parks, including Pedernales Falls State Park, located along the banks of the scenic Pedernales River and featuring picturesque waterfalls, abundant animal and bird life, fishing, swimming, camping, picnicking, hiking, and horseback riding. Also located along the banks of the Pedernales is the Pedernales River Nature Park. This park is a day use park only and there is no fee.
While enjoying all the activities available, you’re sure to work up an appetite, and there are several places for you to fill up including Ronnie’s BBQ, AJ’s Pizza Shoppe, the Chrome Cactus, Hill Country Cupboard, Pecan Street Brewing, Silver K Café, Texas 290 Diner, Dairy Queen, Big Daddy’s Dixie Fried Chicken, Al’s Grocery, Subway, El Charro, and El Agave.
It’s rodeo time in Johnson City August 16th through the 18th. There’s great fun for the entire family this weekend including rodeos, carnival, exhibits, washer pitching contest, and parade. You can find dates, times, and details on our website. This is the perfect time to plan your getaway! Secure your lodging and make a weekend or week out of your visit so that you can take time to enjoy all we have to offer.
Another opportunity for family fun is the annual Texas Hills Vineyard Grape Stomp. Dates for this fun event are August 18th, 19th, 25th, and 26th. Come stomp away and enjoy a glass of their award-winning wines. Just down the road from Johnson City in Hye is the Garrison Brother’s Bourbon Distillery offering daily tours of the facility. This is a tour worth taking - not only is the setting in the gorgeous hills, but it’s a fun and educational experience.
A little Johnson City history - The Site of the Johnson Ranch on Town Creek, the site of present day Johnson City, was at a very old crossroads. A north-south route from Blanco to the Colorado River was known as early as Spanish Times. In 1579, Miranda passed this way, crossing the Pedernales in the vicinity of Johnson City on his way to inspect the supposed silver deposits near Llano. When Lyndon B. Johnson’s Grandfather, Sam Ealy Johnson, Sr., gave up his cattle-driving business (driving cattle up the Chisholm Trail had become unprofitable), he and his brother, Tom Johnson, sold out to a nephew, James Polk Johnson. The nearest post office, mill, & general store were located 14 miles south. There were still renegade Indians roaming the area, so traveling over any distance was viewed with great apprehension. For that reason, settlers in the north end of Blanco County began to plan for a city in the northern area.
In 1879, a barbecue was held at the springs on Town Creek located on the Johnson Ranch. At this meeting, 3 sites for a town were offered & the one accepted by vote of settlers was a 320 acre plot on the Pedernales River offered by James Polk Johnson. After the decision, his many friends took him up on their shoulders and cheered him for his victory and for the decision by the residents to name the new town after him.
James Polk made the transition from rancher to businessman very successfully. It was the organizational ability of James Polk Johnson that converted a natural way station to a settled community and county seat. James Polk’s Grist Mill was a steam-powered cotton gin and gristmill on Town Creek. In the early 1940s, the gin was purchased by George Crofts and converted to a milling and grain operation, which flourished until the late 1970s.
By the time of his premature death at age 40 in 1885, James Polk had built the first gristmill, the Pearl Hotel, & had started construction on the building (now the Johnson City Bank) that was to be a general merchandise store. This building had the first jail in its basement, and served as the first Johnson City courthouse. The first church congregation (Methodist) met in an upstairs room of this building until their church building was constructed, and later Lyndon B. Johnson had his local offices in this building- constructed by his second cousin.
Check out the events calendar on our website to see what’s going on when you plan to visit. For more details on Johnson City visit the website at johnsoncitytexaschamber.com.