The focal piece of the LBJ Ranch is the LBJ Ranch House, the home of President Johnson and a center of political activity for more than 20 years. Leaders from around the world visited the Johnsons here, and during the Johnson Administration it became known as the Texas White House. President Johnson was the first President to create a functioning White House away from Washington. In 1972 the Johnsons donated the Texas White House to the National Park Service and the American people.
The original section of the home was built out of the native limestone fieldstone by a German immigrant, William "Polecat" Meier in 1894. In 1909 the President's aunt and uncle, Frank and Clarence Martin, bought the house and added the main central portion of the home. The Johnson's bought the home from Lyndon's aunt in 1951.
Lyndon Johnson liked to have his staff meetings under the stately live oak in the front yard of the ranch house and discuss the issues of the day ranging from the Vietnam War and Civil Rights to new grasses for the ranch.
Mrs. Johnson recalls: "It was always Lyndon's favorite time, particularly around sunset, from the earliest spring until cold weather drove us in. And we have lots of interesting pictures in this front yard. I remember Adlai Stevenson, and the Speaker, Mr. Rayburn and Lyndon. And he liked to have a long table and we have lots of pictures of the Chiefs of Staff, and Bob McNamara and MacGeorge Bundy, Lyndon all sitting out here doing business and General Westmoreland and various other people. And December was always the month of the budget. Whoever was in charge of the budget, they would come and stay days and days and they would work night and day. And even in December, there are mild days and frequently a part of that would be here."
The Tree is in front of the Texas White House at the LBJ Historic Park near Stonewall.