Exploring The Driskill’s Presidential Past
Austin, Texas is the city that has a little something for everyone. If you’re a fan of live music (and who isn’t?), then you can enjoy a concert at one of the 250 music venues that the city has to offer. It’s not called the “Live Music Capital of the World” for nothing. If you’re a foodie, remember to make reservations at one of the many critically acclaimed restaurants such as Congress or Qui, or simply stop by one of the many food truck and trailer spots. Shopping is your thing? Then you will love spending a day browsing the unique shops at SoCo (South Congress). And if all this isn’t enough, Austin is also a city of history and legend. The history of Austin is beyond its monuments and museums – rather, history lives in Austin and it doesn’t take much for a visitor to feel a part of this great city’s past.
One way to experience Austin’s history is to visit The Driskill, the oldest operating hotel in Austin. This hotel was built in 1886 and is a member of the Historic Hotels of America. Just walking through its halls takes you back in time. If only these walls could talk!
Through decades, the hotel has hosted many legendary figures, including former President Lyndon B. Johnson. In fact, The Driskill shares a special connection with former President Johnson. In 1934, the future President Johnson and his future wife Claudia Taylor (“Lady Bird”) had their first date in The Driskill dining room. Following their marriage, the Johnson family would continue to frequently stay at the The Driskill throughout Johnson’s political career. On the night of the 1964 Presidential Election, Lyndon Johnson awaited the results of the election in The Driskill’s presidential suite, addressing supporters from the ballroom following his win.
So it comes as no surprise that The Driskill honored the Johnson family during the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library’s Civil Rights Summit hosted earlier this month in Austin. The Civil Rights Summit brought over 6,000 attendees including three former presidents as well as current President Barack Obama to central Texas for three days.
Throughout the week of the summit, The Driskill offered some of the Johnson family’s favorite dishes. The 1886 Café & Bakery created a twist on one of President Johnson’s favorite dishes during his navy career – Chipped Beef on Toast. The pastry kitchen baked lemon squares inspired by a recipe from Lady Bird Johnson’s personal cookbook while The Driskill Bar offered two themed cocktail recipes inspired by the couple – the “Lady Bird” made with local Deep Eddy Vodka and Ruby Red Grapefruit and the “Johnson City” made with Moody June Gin.
Missed Austin during this special week? Don’t worry. There is always something unique going on in Austin and next time you’re in town, make sure to visit The Driskill to take in its history and try one of the featured drinks.