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Johnson County is located in north central Texas on the southwestern edge of the Dallas–Fort Worth area. Cleburne, the county seat, is fifty-five miles southwest of downtown Dallas and twenty-nine miles south of downtown Fort Worth. The center of the county is at approximately 97°23′ west longitude and 32°24′ north latitude. Johnson County comprises 740 square miles with three geographical areas.

No permanent Indian villages existed in what is now Johnson County, though Indians, including Tonkawas, Kickapoos, Anadarkos, Caddos, and Wacos, hunted in the area. In 1851 the Caddo Indians led an uprising that forced many of the early settlers to abandon their homes, most of which were subsequently burned. No other serious Indian conflicts occurred.

Texas Highway 174, a four-lane divided highway , connects Cleburne, Joshua, and Burleson to Fort Worth. U.S. Highway 67 connects the county seat with Dallas. Interstate Highway 35 cuts across the eastern part of Johnson County, connecting Dallas and Fort Worth with the high-growth areas to the south. In addition to these, Cleburne is served by the Fort Worth and Western Railroad, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad, and Amtrak. Lake Pat Cleburne and Cleburne State Recreational Park provide recreational facilities. Lakes Whitney and Granbury border the county. The Layland Museum in Cleburne occupies the bottom level of the original Carnegie Library building (see CARNEGIE LIBRARIES), completed in 1904. The top floor, a refurbished auditorium, is home to a theatrical group, the Carnegie Players. In addition to Southwestern Adventist University, Hill Junior College in Hillsboro offers extension work in Cleburne and several other Johnson County communities.

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