History of Landa Branch Library
The Landa Branch Library, located in the Monte Vista Historical Neighborhood was originally the private residence of Harry and Hannah Landa. Hannah Mansfeld Landa died in 1942, and in 1946 Harry Landa, South Texas Capitalist and philanthropist, bequeathed his home, the 5 acres of ground it was situated on and a number of paintings and other art works to the City of San Antonio. The residence was to be used as a free public library and children’s playground. The Hannah Landa Memorial Branch Library would be a “living memorial to his beloved Hannah” and the values she stood for. Appropriate stacks were erected and suitable library furniture purchased and by April 1, 1947, the home had been transformed into its new role.
Construction on the Italian designed home began in 1928. The Landas selected Architect Robert B. Kelly of the Kellwood Company as the architect, C.D. Carlisle to be the contractor for the project and Ernest B. Hays to work closely with Hannah to design the interior of the home. The two-story home was built of stucco, stone-tile and other permanent materials. The Landas selected furnishings for the home with great care many of the items being purchased while traveling in Europe. The carved marble mantel, chairs, and ornamental urns were purchased in Rome, while the carved crystal chandelier that hung in the parlor was bought in Venice. Harry and Hannah also acquired many paintings throughout Europe, which hung in the art gallery of their home. The ornamental ironwork in the home, which included the chandeliers in the entryway and the dinning room, were products of the Gramer’s Iron Works Company. The home was completed in 1929 and the Landas immediately moved in.
Sixty-one years later, Landa Branch Library still serves the public it was intended for and children play on its picturesque grounds, enjoying the playground addition added in 1998 by the Landa Library Alliance and the new restoration of the grounds completed in 2008 by the Landa Gardens Conservancy.
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