George W. Bush 43rd President, 2001-2008

Birthplace, New Haven, Connecticut
George Walker Bush was born on July 6, 1946, in New Haven, Connecticut, where his father, just returned from World War II, was attending Yale University. Bush’s mother, the former Barbara Pierce, later gave birth to three more sons, John (Jeb), Neil, and Marvin, and two daughters, Dorothy and Robin. After George Bush graduated from Yale, he set out for Texas, hoping to make his fortune in the oil business. The Bushes settled in Midland, where young George had a relatively untroubled childhood, apart from the tragic death of his sister Robin from leukemia in 1953.

Home, Kennebunkport, Maine
The Bush family purchased and built the family retreat and summer home at Kennebunkport, Maine in 1901. President Bush and his father spend many presidential working vacations at this summer home. The large summer home sits on a bluff called “Walker’s Point,” overlooking the coast of Maine.

Home, Crawford, Texas
Washington D.C. and NBC may have The West Wing, but Crawford has the Prairie Chapel Ranch now being called alternately the “Texas White House” or the “Western White House.” First Lady Laura Bush spent several weeks after the inauguration readying the ranch for its new role as the Presidential retreat away from the Oval Office. President Bush has said “…when I’m not in Washington, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find me on our place in Crawford, Texas.”

George W. and Laura Bush purchased around 1600 acres just outside of Crawford in 1999. Located 18 miles southwest of Waco, Crawford is about 90 miles north of Austin and convenient to Fort Hood for those flights in on Air Force One. The ranch itself, eight miles northwest of Crawford, is in an area known as Prairie Chapel. The ranch property includes a creek, canyon, waterfalls, and meadows where cattle and deer graze. The Bush family renovated an existing farmhouse and built a new home there. As an avid fisherman Bush added a private fishing lake stocked with bass. However, the curious trekking out to the ranch won’t see any of that. From the road there’s only pastures, barbed wire fences, and signs that warn “No stopping. No standing. No parking on right of way.” You might, however, meet up with a few Secret Service agents near the ranch and in town.

The city of Crawford, Texas leaves no doubt about the identity of the most famous of their 631 residents. Although he’s only lived there a short while, and not full-time, the town of Crawford welcomes the Bush family. The Crawford High School Band set-up along the parade route on Inauguration Day and the Crawford Boy Scouts Troop were on a float in the parade. On February 17, about half the town in this traditionally Democratic area turned out for Crawford’s Inaugural Ball to honor the Republican President and First Lady. The Crawford Community Center only holds around 350 people or there would have been more.

First established in the mid-1800s at a crossroads between Waco and Gatesville (near Fort Hood), the town relocated itself a few miles away and with the presence of the Santa Fe Railroad it began to flourish. But while the railroad helped grow a town, the President may help grow a tourist attraction. The town currently boasts only one restaurant, a converted gas station called The Coffee Station. There’s no supermarket or hotel but there are five churches. Tourists will find that this ‘dry’ town has no sale of alcoholic beverages.

In the 1960′s President Lyndon B. Johnson often returned to the LBJ Ranch at Johnson City, west of Austin, where he frequently entertained visitors. It became a popular tourist stop and is now an historic park. It appears likely that President Bush will also be spending a fair amount of time at his ranch during his own presidency. Crawford, already becoming accustomed to secret service agents and the inevitable Presidential entourage, is bracing for its own onslaught of tourists and possible related business growth.