If Austin Texas is the place to be in our state, that’s in great part due to former first lady Lady Bird Johnson. Her efforts at making our state beautiful and preserving nature have created a reputation that changed our state forever.
Lady Bird always loved the outdoors, particularly the wildflowers. She first saw Austin in 1930 when she was 17 years old. She fell in love with it, in particular the bluebonnets. Her lobbying work and advocacy for the beauty of our state lasted throughout her marriage and beyond.
“As First Lady, she formed her own committee to undertake what was called ‘beautification’ but had a wide range of objectives,” Caroli said. “In Washington, D.C., the committee took on two initiatives — to turn the capital into a ‘garden city’ with tree-lined streets and flowering parks but also to go beyond the tourist center and add plantings and improve playgrounds in low income neighborhoods.”
After Lyndon left the white house, Lady Bird got to work in earnest. She began with working around Town Lake, planting and raising money for beautification efforts. Today people still enjoy Town Lake, a testimony to her hard work.
She also founded the National Wildflower Research Center, which is now called Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. It’s located about ten miles from Austin and is home to 650 species of native Texas plants.