Austin City Council will honor Lady Bird Johnson by renaming Town Lake to "Lady Bird Lake" today. The former first lady helped beautify the lake by spearheading the Town Lake Hike and Bike Trail project.
Since Johnson's death on July 11, there have been calls from citizens and Austin leaders for the body of water to be named for her. Lady Bird had declined becoming the lake's namesake in the past.
Members of the surviving Johnson family, including daughters Luci and Lynda, will attend a ceremony during the City Council's meeting at City Hall today.
"I am delighted and not a bit surprised," said Betty Sue Flowers, director of the LBJ Library and Museum. "She was a modest woman."
The city has taken calls and suggestions about renaming the lake in her honor since her involvement with Town Lake beautification began in 1971, said Rich Bailey, a spokesman for the mayor's office. The lakeshore was once a mixture of sand and weeds prone to flooding. Through her efforts, the once unsightly land has now been transformed into landscaped paths, along which Austinites can enjoy pleasant walks and a myriad of outdoor activities.
"Lady Bird Johnson transformed Town Lake from a garbage-strewn eyesore into Austin's scenic and recreational centerpiece," said Council Member Brewster McCracken in a written statement. "Town Lake, and life in Austin, wouldn't be the same without her vision."
Johnson played a key role in other environmental projects, which can commonly be seen on Texas' highways, where the wildflowers she encouraged to be planted now line the medians and sides of the roads. Every spring, a vibrant display of bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush and primrose, among scores of other wildflowers, can be seen by travelers trekking the vast Texas landscape.
The lake is the second posthumous naming of an Austin landmark after a prominent Texas woman in about two months. In May, the Congress Avenue Bridge across the Colorado River was renamed the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, honoring the deceased former governor.
This is a great way remember a woman who did so much to beautify Texas. Some of the wildflower patches off the highway are truly striking:
For those of you who've never seen it, here are some shots of Town Lake. My favorite shot of it, though, is this:
That would be a statue of Stevie Ray Vaughn, overlooking now Lady Bird Lake.