Stonewall, Texas – On June 15, the Friends of Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park accepted $25,000 from the Lower Colorado River Authority to offset the cost of replacing the heating and cooling system in the famed “Texas White House” on the LBJ Ranch, which is now open for public touring. The grant is matched by funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the national program to jump-start the economy, create jobs and improve our national park “treasures.” Work at the ranch will begin in August.
“President Johnson is recognized by many historians as the first president to initiate environmental and energy-saving legislation,” Russ Whitlock, superintendent of Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, said during the presentation. “It is most appropriate that his home should be maintained by the latest heating and cooling equipment and technology.”
A portion of the former home of President and Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson is open for public touring as a house museum, maintained by the National Park Service. The present heating and air conditioning system is a combination of nine heat pumps and air exchangers of various capacities and ages. Energy bills have averaged about $1,400 a month. The new system will save about 35 percent and provide the constant temperature and humidity controls needed to preserve the house’s original furnishings.
Four rooms – the presidential office, living room, dining room and kitchen – are open to visitors daily. Public tours will continue while the energy system is being upgraded. The ductwork will be left “as is” to minimize damage to the ranch house’s historic fabric during installation of the new system.
Also this summer, the park will replace 4.3 miles of historic ranch fencing using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) money. As elsewhere, these funds help the local economy by creating jobs and improving park facilities. They include the latest “best practices” in energy efficiency. National parks and their visitors generate $11 billion a year in economic benefits nationally.
Information about other National Park Service projects funded wholly or in part by ARRA can be found at www.recovery.gov.