Mayor's Office Press Release
Mayor Turner Joins Family of 36th President & Community Leaders to Dedicate Monuments to Lyndon B Johnson and Apollo I Memorial
August 6, 2021 -- Mayor Sylvester Turner today accepted on behalf of the City of Houston a statue dedicated to America’s 36th President Lyndon Baines Johnson and an additional Memorial to the astronauts who perished in testing the Apollo I module in 1967.
Mayor Turner was joined at the statue unveiling by LBJ’s daughters Lynda Bird Robb and Luci Baines Johnson, attorney Charles Foster, and members of the Lyndon B. Johnson Advisory Board.
Vice President Kamala Harris sent a video message honoring the legacy of President Johnson.
“President Johnson led through extremely difficult times—through national grief, through global threats, through deep-seeded injustice. And I believe that there are lessons we can learn from this monument of a man and apply to the moment we're in,” said Vice President Harris.
President Johnson regularly ranks as one of the greatest presidents based on his extraordinary legislative achievements, including the three seminal civil rights bills that after 100 years achieved full legal rights for all Americans. Also included in President Johnson's extraordinary portfolio is the Immigration Act of 1965, which opened legal immigration from all nations equally, based upon family reunification and needed job skills in the United States.
Development for the monument was initiated by Houston attorney Charles C. Foster, who served with David B. Jones as co-chairmen of the Lyndon B. Johnson Monument Advisory Board, raising all funds for the direct costs from private donors.
“This project could not have been accomplished without Mayor Sylvester Turner, who provided us the park space and his full support,” said Mr. Foster. “On this date, August 6 in 1965, President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act. As we reflect on this historic occasion, it is hard to believe that we are still working to uphold the rights of ALL eligible voters. President Johnson was a Southern white man from Texas fighting for civil rights and during his lifetime changed the course of history both politically and socially.”
The LBJ and Apollo I Monuments are located adjacent to the Federal Courthouse on Bagby St. at 400 Rusk Ave. and sit in the park space previously known as Little Tranquillity Park. The unveiling accompanies the reopening of Bagby St. with a significant enhancement of wider sidewalks and design elements.
Also dedicated Friday at Little Tranquillity Park was a memorial to Apollo I astronauts Command Pilot Gus Grissom, Senior Pilot Edward White and Pilot Roger Chaffee, who perished on January 27, 1967, while testing their capsule prior to launch. Little Tranquillity Park has contained for years two small memorials to the astronauts of the Space Shuttles Challenger and Columbia, who perished in service of their country. The memorials include two semicircles of seven Magnolia trees, with each tree representing one of the astronauts. The new Apollo I memorial includes the planting of three additional Magnolia trees, each representing one of the astronauts.
The LBJ Monument joins a series of monuments along Bagby St., including the George Bush Monument, the James Baker Monument across the bayou from the Bush Monument, and the Barbara Jordan Monument at the new Post HTX development on Franklin St. Further south from the LBJ Monument, a seated bronze sculpture of Barbara Bush will be placed at the new Barbara Bush Literacy Plaza in front of the Central Library.
“This is a special day for Houston, and I hope people from all walks of life will visit the site honoring President Johnson and the astronauts who gave their lives in service to our country,” Mayor Turner said. “On this date, August 6 in 1965, President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act. As we reflect on this historic occasion, it is hard to believe that we are still working to uphold the rights of ALL eligible voters. President Johnson was a Southern white man from Texas fighting for civil rights and during his lifetime changed the course of history both politically and socially."
The monument design team was comprised of renowned sculptor Chas Fagan, who created the 8’ bronze statue of President Johnson, and Gensler Architect, led by Sharon Steinberg and C.K. Pang. Gensler previously worked on the design of the George Bush and James Baker monuments and the Robert Mosbacher Memorial Bridge connecting the two. W.S. Bellows Construction served as lead contractor. Landscaping design was handled by Lauren Griffith Associates.