Trinity University, one of the top liberal arts universities in the United States according to U.S. News & World Report, is situated in the historic Monte Vista neighborhood, not far from downtown. (Take the number 5 VIA bus north up McCullough and ask the bus driver to please let you off at the Bushnell intersection.)
The bold among you may not hesitate walking up to someone’s front door and asking them if you may take a tour their beautiful home, but for those of us who are not so bold, the Landa Library at 233 Bushnell provides a vicarious glimpse into what it might be like to live in such a grand abode.
Hannah and Harry Landa lived in the two-story Mediterranean-styled home designed by Ernest B. Hays from 1929 until 1942, when Ms. Landa passed away. In 1946, Harry gave the home and its grounds to the City of San Antonio to be used as a memorial library and children’s playground in Hannah’s honor. The library opened in 1947.
Thanks to community support, the library’s grounds underwent a major renovation in 2008. Patrons may now enjoy an expanded children’s playground, a Carlos Cortés-designed faux bois pavillion, a community garden and strategically placed benches that are just right for curling up with a good book.
Landa’s grounds are also a perfect place to enjoy a picnic lunch. We’ve been known to grab “para llevar” (to go) tacos at nearby Panchito’s Mexican Restaurant and eat them under one of the library’s stunning oak trees or in the gorgeous pavillion. Cortés, a local artisan, was just featured in Martha Stewart’s September 2010 magazine for designing an absolutely beautiful dining room table for Martha’s home.
After you’ve toured the exterior and interior of Landa Library, which provides a great selection of books, free Internet, children’s activities and nice selection of current magazines, walk east down Bushnell onto the grounds of Trinity University. Walk up the stairs through the George Storch Memorial Building and take a right. From this vantage point, you’ll understand why Trinity is known as the Skyline Campus.
My family rang in 2000 here with some close friends, and we were given front-row seats to downtown’s memorable millennial firecrackers. With your back to downtown, walk up more stairs to Trinity’s tower, designed by noted San Antonio architect O’Neil Ford, who also designed the Hemisfair tower, a.k.a. the Tower of the Americas.
Trinity is known for hosting famous authors, artists, musicians and noteworthy people in the news, like current and former heads of state and journalists, throughout the year. Check out the university’s website to see what’s on the agenda. At the tower, hang a left and go to the north side of the Margarite B. Parker Chapel. There, you will find an entrance into a peaceful garden, a secret hideaway to gather your thoughts before heading off to your next stop in oh-so-senSAtional San Antonio, Texas!