Sam Rayburn House State Historic Site
The Christmas tree is up, the garlands are hanging, and the candles are battery-powered at the Sam Rayburn House State Historic Site this holiday season. Join us on December 7, 2023, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. as we have our annual Holiday Open House! Enjoy first floor tours of the Rayburn House as it’s decorated for Christmas, a holiday the Rayburn family celebrated. Stop by our Visitor Center for some hot apple cider and sweet treats before making some popsicle stick ornaments to take home. This event is free to attend, and all are welcome!
Because this event occurs on December 7th, you can experience both the joy the holiday season can bring to everyone amidst the tragedy that was the Japanese military’s attack on Pearl Harbor on Sunday, December 7, 1941. Sam Rayburn did more than just listen to the news of the attack – he went to work in his role as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives on December 8th, presiding over the emergency joint session of Congress alongside Vice President Henry A. Wallace and introducing President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the assembled members of Congress. Rayburn signed the declaration of war against the Empire of Japan, and later gifted the gavel he used during the proceedings to Irving Swanson, then reading clerk for the U.S. House of Representatives. This declaration as well as the war declarations that came against the nations of Germany and Italy on December 11th officially took the U.S. into World War II (1939-1945). Despite the war, Americans continued to celebrate the holidays even though these holidays looked different because of rationed foodstuffs and materials.
The Sam Rayburn House will remain decorated for the holiday throughout the month of December, with self-guided Christmas themed tours all month long. The site is open Tuesday through Saturday, with tours at 10 and 11 a.m., and 12, 1, 2, and 3 p.m. Admission is $4 for adults and $3 for seniors, veterans, and students. Special family rates are available at $8 for a family of 3, and $1 for each additional child.