The Hannah Landa Memorial Library was given as a gift to the City of San Antonio in 1946 by Harry Landa.
The Library, located in the Monte Vista Historical District, is named for Hannah Mansfeld Landa, beloved wife of Harry Landa. The Landa Branch Library was the private residence of Harry and Hannah Landa from 1929 to 1946. Hannah Mansfeld was a native of Tucson, Arizona, and met Harry Landa while visiting friends in San Antonio. By chance, they both were staying at the St. Anthony Hotel and soon romance was in the air. Harry and Hannah were married March 17, 1913, in Tucson, Arizona. For many years they made their home in New Braunfels. In 1928 construction of their new Italian home began, and in 1929, the Landas moved to 233 Bushnell, San Antonio, Texas.
The two-story home was built of stucco, stone-tile and other permanent materials. While the house was being built, Mrs. Landa worked closely with Ernest B. Hays who designed the home. Gramer's Iron Works crafted the ornamental iron works used in the home. Robert B. Kelly of the Kellwood Company was the architect, and C.D. Carlisle was the contractor.
The Landas selected furnishings for the home with great care. Many items were purchased during their travels in Europe. The carved marble mantel, chairs, and ornamental urns were purchased in Rome. The crystal chandelier that hung in the parlor was bought in Venice. They also acquired many paintings throughout Europe which hung in the art gallery of their home.
Hannah's beauty, grace, and charm brought her a prominent place as one of the outstanding social and civic leaders in San Antonio, universally beloved and respected. Hannah Mansfeld Landa died on October 28, 1942. Four years later, Harry bequeathed his home and the grounds to the City of San Antonio to be used as a free public library and a children's playground. The library would be called the Hannah Landa Memorial Branch Library and would be a “living memorial to his beloved Hannah,” with whom he had shared his life for 30 years. By 1947, the home had been transformed into its role as a free public library. Appropriate book shelves were erected out of the same materials Gramer's Iron Works had used for the ornamental iron in the home, and suitable library furniture was purchased. The grand opening of the new Library was on April 1, 1947.
The Library closed for renovation on February 21, 1996 and reopened on September 5, 1997. The cost for the Library renovation was $623,060. Funds were authorized in the 1989 bond issue for library expansions, renovations, new branches, and literacy centers. The renovation included the installation of an elevator, new carpet and paint throughout the building.
In 2007, the Library closed a second time for restoration of the five-acre grounds by the Landa Gardens Conservancy. Some interior renovation and roof replacement was also completed at this time. The project was completed in April 2008 after an 11 month closure. The Landa Gardens Conservancy can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Monte Vista Historical Association office is located on the grounds of the Landa Branch Library. Messages can be left at 210.737.8212.
In 2017, the Library closed for a third time for interior and exterior renovation, including bringing the outside of the building back to the original color, restoration of all exterior doors, new paint, new carpet, and new furniture.
- Architect: Robert B. Kelly of Kellwood Co.
- Contractor: C.D. Carlisle
- Square footage: 5,252 square feet