Lady Bird dedicates Padre Island National Seashore
On this day in 1968, a crowd of nearly 10,000 watched as Claudia Alta "Lady Bird" Johnson, wife of President Lyndon Johnson, dedicated Padre Island National Seashore. It is the longest seashore in the national park system and encompasses a portion of the largest barrier beach in the United States. The history of the park was long and contentious. Efforts to establish a state park on Padre Island began in 1936, but proved unsuccessful due to a struggle between public and private interests over ownership of the land. In 1958 Texas senator Ralph Yarborough introduced a bill to establish a national park on the island, and the proposal was finally signed into law in 1962. The dedication of the park followed five years of condemnation proceedings. Today the park is a popular tourist destination, with attractions including a wide, sandy beach for swimming and fishing; a plethora of shore birds and migratory waterfowl; and a variety of legends involving pirates and hidden treasure.