The City is situated on a former ranch (Johnson Ranch) on Town Creek which was on an ancient crossroads.
The ancient Spanish were familiar with the route from Blanco to Colorado River and Miranda himself used the north-south route to pass Pedernales which is near Johnson City to find the legendary silver deposits near Llano.
The travelers between Austin and Fredericksburg used to stop at McCarthy Spring located 4 miles to the northwest of the town. Andrew Jackson, the older brother of both Sam and Tom Johnson set up his home near the spring in 1958.
Pedernales Valley had the unique combination of Topography and ease of access through horse drawn wagons which made it the preferred resting place for travelers in the area.
Despite the geographical advantages the area became Ranch stations as none of the settlements in the area survived.
The Grandfather of President LBJ, Sam Ealy Johnson along with his brother Tom Johnson sold his unprofitable cattle driving business to his relative, James Polk Johnson. During those days there were still Indians roaming in the area and the closest mill, post office and general store were 14 miles to the south in Pittsburg/Blanco. Due to the rampaging Indians and the isolation of the settlement, the settlers decided to plan a town in the northern are.
During a barbecue in 1879 at the springs on the Town Creek on the Johnson Ranch, three possible sites for the settlement were proposed. Finally the proposal of James Poll Johnson was accepted and it was decided that the new settlement would be on the 320 acre ranch offered by him.
James Polk later left his ranching business and became a businessman. He was responsible for changing the small rest stop used by the travelers into a thriving community that became the County headquarter. He set up the first steam powered gristmill and cotton gin on the Town Creek of the area. The main crops grown in the area were corn and cotton. The gin of James Polk was bought by George Crofts in 1940 and was converted into a grain milling operation which continued to run till the seventies.
James Polk died at the age of forty in 1885 however in that short life he had set up the first gristmill of the area, The Pearl Hotel and the current Johnson City Bank which at that time was an under construction building. The building has a fascinating history and has served as the first penitentiary, the first courthouse and the first Methodist church of the area. The practice of using the building as a church was discontinued after a Methodist church was set up in the area. Even the local office of Lyndon B. Johnson was also set up in the same building.
Blanco County was formed by merging Burnet, Gillespie and Hays Counties on February 11, 1858. The legislature decreed the county headquarter be set up within five miles of the center of the newly formed county for this task Judge William E. Jones of Curry’s Creek was appointed by the legislature.
In 1862 the Kendall County was formed by merging parts of Blanco and Kerr Counties, this caused a reduction in both population and territory and caused a relocation pressure on the government to move the county headquarter to Johnson City in 1890. The change in the boundary line put Johnson City within 2 miles of the center of the county.
Geography of Johnson City
The city is in the central Blanco County at coordinates: 30°16′35″N 98°24′29″W. The Pedernales River is located one mile to the north and U.S. Routes 281 and 290 merge near the middle of the city. U.S. Route 281 goes 23 miles to the north to Marble Falls and U.S. 290 goes 30 miles to the west to Fredericksburg. The 2 highways run parallel to the south of the town, however US 290 turns and leads 47 miles to the east to Austin while US 281 continues south to San Antonio 64 miles from the City.
The city of Johnson spans an area of 1.7 sq. miles all of which is land. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau).
Climate of Johnson City
The city gets hot and humid summers and mild winters, temperatures generally fall between 82 °F (summer) and 47 °F (winter). The area has a humid subtropical climate.
Demographics of Johnson City
- Median Income (household): $34,148
- Median Income (family): $39,375.
- Median Income (males): $30,529
- Medina Income (females): $21,607
- Income per capita: $14,977
- Below poverty line: 9.2% of the families and 12.5% (including 17.8% of people aged 18 years or less and 11.8% of the people aged 65 or over) of the population lived below the poverty line.
Parks and Recreation
The LBJ National Historical Park is located 12 miles to the west of Johnson City. It is operated by the National Park Service.
The students in Johnson City attend the schools under the Johnson City Independent School District. The District has schools for all ages. There is also the LBJ High School.\
The Johnson City has its own weekly newspaper, ‘The Johnson City Recorder’ that has been in publication since 1883.
If you are interested in Real Estate in the Texas Hill Country, please feel free to contact Tom Ashworth (208)830-7991.