County Seat: Johnson City * County Population: 9,250
The Blanco County Courthouse was designed by Henry T. Phelps in a Classical Revival style. The stone structure was erected in 1916 and sits on the square in the county seat of Johnson City. A small dome adorns the top of the rectangular structure, which allows for ample sunlight with its multiple two-over-two windows.
The courthouse was built by James Waterston, a stone mason trained in Scotland who came to Texas in 1883 to work on the construction of the State Capitol building.
The county’s first two temples of justice were housed in Blanco, the original county seat. The inaugural county capitol, built for $600 in 1860, was destroyed by fire. The subsequent courthouse designed by F.E. Ruffini served the county for five years until an election in 1890 transferred the seat to Johnson City. The Ruffini courthouse is still a Central Texas landmark and favorite meeting place.
Blanco, Spanish for white, refers to the white limestone that adorns the courthouse exterior, while Johnson City pays homage to early settlers including the ancestors of President Lyndon B. Johnson.
This Hill Country county known for its rugged landscape and ranches is home to two state parks. Blanco State Park, some 105 acres in size, is located along the Blanco River. The area was used as a campsite by early explorers and settlers who relied on a spring located within the park whenever the Blanco River was dry.
Visitors frequent Blanco State Park for its camping, swimming, picnicking, hiking and fishing, among other activities. The park is joined to the town square, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, by a two-block city park with a nature trail featuring a xeriscape garden.
Pedernales Falls State Park encompasses approximately 5,212 acres just east of Johnson City. Located along the banks of the scenic Pedernales River, the area attracts bird watchers, swimmers, campers and horseback riders, not to mention mountain bikers and hikers. The park includes captivating waterfalls best viewed from a scenic overlook at the park’s north end.
President Lyndon B. Johnson’s boyhood home in Johnson City re-creates the former president’s childhood spent in the Texas Hill Country. The home includes Johnson family household items and period furniture. The nearby Johnson settlement, established by the president’s grandfather and great-uncle, houses the family’s original 1856 cabin.
The Annual Johnson City Texas Wildflower Days