One of the factors contributing to Kingsland’s high profile in the 1960s was the presence of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s lake house just across the Llano River arm of Granite Shoals Lake. With his partner, Judge A.W. Moursund, Johnson had purchased land on both sides of the Llano, and the ranch on the south side had become one of his favorite spots for rest and relaxation. A front-page article on July 9 told how the president had enjoyed a July 4th weekend in Kingsland (his lake house was actually connected to Kingsland only by the ferry at the time), and had hosted a fish fry for guests including “Gov. and Mrs. John Connally.” The story included a report that President Johnson had “lost his cap” while boating on the lake that weekend. It was retrieved by a Secret Service man who dived into the water for it.
The Highlander’s headline that week said “Lyndon, Lady Bird relax on Granite Shoals During 4th,” but the big photo showed Mrs. William Matthews water-skiing with two dogs on her surfboard. She and her husband lived in San Antonio but came to their Lakewood Forest III vacation home almost every weekend to go water-skiing. Lady, a German Shepherd, and Mister, a Boston Bulldog, always wanted to go along.
A more mundane news item reported that the Kingsland post office was extending its hours, and would be open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The mail from Austin arrived each morning at 7:30; the mail from Llano at 5 p.m.
Construction began in Marble Falls on July 6 to widen Hwy 1431 from two to four lanes. Stein Lumber was awarded the contract for the new shopping center in Kingsland. John Williams opened a riding stable just down the hill from Longhorn Cavern in Hoover Valley. Sales began well at Sherwood Shores III.
In what would turn into one of the summer’s biggest stories, members of the Kingsland Christian Church voted on July 12 to sell their property to Kingsland Community Church, which had already decided to build a new sanctuary. The decision meant that the old Christian Church building would have to be moved, and a search was on for a suitable new home. Church membership in Kingsland had jumped dramatically in the previous four years; there had been only one church in Kingsland in 1960 with 57 members and an average attendance of 40. By 1964, the Kingsland Community Church had been joined by a revived Christian Church, a new Baptist Church, and a Church of Christ which met at the American Legion Hall. Total church membership had increased to 367, and attendance averaged an impressive 430!
A front-page story in The Llano News on July 23 was headlined, “Ground Breaking Held for Kingsland Complex,” and actual construction began on the new Highland Lakes National Bank and the adjoining shopping center on July 27. Manager Bill McGee, of contractor Stein Lumber, estimated that the new post office would be completed by December 15 and that the whole shopping center would be completed by February 1, 1965. The length of the planned shopping center had been increased by 60 feet to include more office space than originally envisioned.
Another front-page story bore the headline “Kingsland Landmark Church to Be Moved,” and read “One of Kingsland’s few old-time landmark buildings is being moved soon to a new site. According to Shirley Williams, who had recently been elected chairman of the Christian Church board, the old white frame building had been constructed in 1904; it had been “used for several years by the Kingsland Community Church.”
Kingsland Community Park was the first stop on a five-day canoe race from Lake Buchanan to Austin to kick off Austin’s big Aqua Festival in 1964, and Fred Wright, with assistance from Tex Wright and Llano Chamber of Commerce President Lester Inman, hosted a BBQ supper there for the 108 race participants and the public on Monday, August 3. Parts of the canoe race were to be filmed by the “Wide World of Sports” TV program. Due to the busy tourist season, there were no Chamber of Commerce meetings that summer.
Mrs. Minna Bel Oland, granddaughter of Kingsland founder Martin Daniel King Sr., made a trip from San Antonio in August to see what was happening in her grandfather’s town. Newcomers Edward Polvado and family purchased Snider Plumbing and changed the name to G&P Sheet Metal and Plumbing. Alfred and Joyce Zerm celebrated the 4th anniversary of their Kingsland Laundromat. Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Smith opened their “Bluebonnet Centre” in a new steel building “near the new post office and bank building.” In addition to Mrs. Smith’s art studio and gift shop, the new building would house Carson Real Estate and the Highland Auto Company; it was built by a new company called Stran-Steel Builders, formed by three Kingsland residents: Frank M. Austin, Frank W. Bowen, and R.N. “Kit” Carson (they also sold ranch gates and put up fences as ABC Fence Company). Mr. and Mrs. M.L. Liles opened their new Kingsridge subdivision; their first buyer was Mildred McLean. Jadeanne Ross purchased the Clip ‘n Curl hair salon, but kept Jettie Cash on as manager.
The August 13 Highlander showed a picture of the new Kingsland substation, “completed last month” by the Central Texas Electical Co-op. The Highland Lakes Church of Christ dedicated its new building on Hwy 1431 in Kingsland on August 23.
A photo in the September 17 Highlander showed the steel frame for the new Highland Lakes National Bank (“erected this week”).
In October of 1964, a marker was placed by the Llano County Historical Survey Committee on the hill (Backbone Mountain, now often called “Lookout Mountain”) overlooking the confluence of the Llano and Colorado Rivers, to commemorate the Fisher-Miller Grant. That huge parcel of land began here and spread west as far as the Pecos River – 3,800,000 acres in all. It was promised to the German immigrants of the Adelsverein, who built New Braunfels and Fredericksburg, but very few ever reached their remote “promised land.” The ceremony in 1964 included descendants of Adelsverein leader John O. Meusebach, who negotiated the German pioneers’ famous treaty with the Comanches.
The October 29 Highlander reported that “a lease for a 4,500 square-foot Western Auto store to be located in the Highland Lakes Shopping Center of Kingsland has been signed. The new store would be owned by Bruce and Jean Dines, who planned to move to Kingsland from Plainview in November. They hoped to be open for business before Christmas. That issue also included an article reprinted from the Dallas Morning News, which was headlined “Privacy a Problem With President.” The article noted that “15 minutes after the usual three helicopters are sighted, the lake in front of the president’s place comes alive with boats.” It went on to say that when the president came for the July 4 weekend, he arrived more quietly by car; it took a couple of hours for the crowd to gather that time.
In November, Lyndon Johnson was re-elected president of the United States, carrying Kingsland by a margin of 237 to 90 over Barry Goldwater, and Roscoe Newton was elected president of the Kingsland Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Newton was a former resident of Kingsland, who had recently moved back from Fort Worth “to operate a children’s camp.” Jack Valentine was vice president of the Chamber, and Mrs. M.F. Wright was secretary/treasurer. The newspaper report said that the “highlight of the meeting was a talk by Shirley Williams on unity in the community to develop the potential of Kingsland.”
An item in the Highlander on November 12 noted that Fred Siegler, of Fort Worth, was building a six unit motel on Hwy 1431. It explained that Mr. Siegler had been “a teacher of math and science, and also an umpire in the Texas League.” Red Keith had taken over management of Kingsland BBQ, and Sonny Nelson was the new owner of Kingsland Mobil.
In December, Mrs. Jewel Smith’s mural of Packsaddle Mountain made the front page of The Llano News. It was on display in her new Bluebonnet Gift Shop, near Snider Plumbing and the new shopping center, where she also planned to offer ceramics classes. Nearly 500 people attended the Grand Opening. Billy Pearson, who had been working with Odie Ainsworth, opened his own real estate office on Hwy 1431. Jack Valentine completed a “modern enclosed fishing marina” at his Valentine Lodge. W.C. McWilliams was named as a director of the Highland Lakes National Bank.
Dr. Mason Brock hoisted a boat onto the roof of his medical clinic to create a Christmas display of Santa Claus water skiing. It was an exciting year, and full of promise for the future. Kingsland’s growth was still in its early stages in 1964.