Comal River in Landa Park.

Colorful arboretum trees along the Comal River in Landa Park.

| Courtesy of photographer Elisabet Barker

Note: This column is based on the book “New Braunfels’ Historic Landa Park, Its Springs and Its People” by Rosemarie Leissner Gregory and Arlene Krueger Seales. 

 

Southern Music Camp

Sister Loretta Liebscher (1946 NBHS Graduate) remembers that Dr. Giesecke was in charge of the Southern Music Camp in Landa Park and that his wife’s family was quite musical. 

The first year of camp, everyone from out-of-town stayed at Giesecke’s Camp on the Comal River. The following year, two dormitories were built for the Music Camp overlooking Landa Park. Hildegard Meyer was the head counselor for the girl’s dorm and Shelley Burt was the counselor for the boy’s dorm. 

Loretta’s instrument was the violin, and she remembers best the harmony classes and those on music theory. She fondly recalls that her brother, Carl, also attended. It was a special time during the summers of 1939 through 1941 in Landa Park when the hills were alive with the sound of music. Loretta and her siblings, Maria and Carl, are the children of Alfred and Franziska Dittlinger Liebscher.

 

Lorraine Ikels Kraft

I guess I became aware of Landa Park about 1936. That was when I started school, and every so often somebody would have a birthday party, or the grown-ups would pack a lunch and go there. 

As time went on, we always had the children’s maskenball, where everybody would dress up. After the parade you would take a sack lunch and spend the afternoon at the park. 

At night you would have a dance on the concrete slab that is still there. We would dance around that big oak tree. There were not that many places to go, but in 1946 I met the love of my life there, so it was pretty special. 

In 1947 we went dancing, and after the dance our car was parked in what was known as the little island. A wooden bridge that washed away in 2010 connected the dance floor to the island. 

One of those nights my husband of 58 years proposed to me: “Marry me or I’ll never ask again.” (Most memorable.) As time went on we took our children to the swimming pool, only the spring-fed pool, although mine didn’t learn to swim because the water was too cold.

 

Arlene Krueger Seales Remembers Kindermaskenball, 1941

A remembrance of the masquerade of 1941 was of my brother, Bobby Krueger, who was portraying George Washington in a beautiful soft blue jacket and white satin knee-length pants and his blonde curly hair: a beautiful young man all of 5 years. 

And then the accident happened — Bobby was playing on the one point of the star of the relatively-new German Pioneer Monument when he fell and hit his head on the sharp marble edge. 

I just remembered there was what seemed like a lot of blood all over the costume, but there was no deep injury and no scar for him to remember. Submitted by Arlene Faye Krueger Seales, daughter of Arlon and Faye Leifeste Krueger, and a graduate from NBHS in 1950.

 

Shots at Random

“Shots at Random” was a consistently interesting column written by Roger Nuhn, Herald-Zeitung editor.  In his January 15, 1970, column he addressed a timely event, the Peninsula Playhouse being torn down. 

Nuhn was impressed with the good condition of the dance floor of the, once again, open-air pavilion. 

He recalled with humor the times that seemed scandalous to some of our citizens when the “Black Bottom” and the “Charleston” were danced there. He remembered that it was there a beautiful redhead won a Charleston contest. Her name was Ginger Rogers, and she went on to become the favorite dancing partner of Hollywood’s Fred Astaire.

 

Dorothy Faye Staats Lundholm

Growing up in the small town of Marion, Texas, and only 15 miles from New Braunfels and Landa Park, I 

spent many happy hours enjoying the park’s beauty and entertainment.

During the war years of the early forties, my friends and I would go to the dances held at the open-air pavilion. 

Young service men would come from Randolph Field and other bases in San Antonio.  

One of them was my husband-to-be, Rudy Lundholm of Iron Mountain, Michigan. 

He kept asking me to dance and he really couldn’t dance (I found that out later), but he kept coming around. 

I wasn’t really interested in him, but I guess I was nice enough to him. 

I was spending the weekend at my grandparents in New Braunfels and planned to go to Camp Warnecke and the group of guys was there, too. 

The war ended that August, and he was discharged in the fall and went back home to Michigan, and I went off to Texas State College for Women. 

We were engaged via mail and we married the following June. Submitted by Dorothy Faye Staats Lundholm of Iron Mountain, Michigan.

 

Verna Mae Boenig Dean and Square Dancing in Landa Park

Beta Sigma Phi Sorority began in New Braunfels in 1946 with Marie Sadue Jarisch serving as the first president. 

They soon were looking for a fundraiser to provide the means that would enable the new organization to carry through on their civic betterment goals. 

The group decided on square dancing lessons and hired Rick Holden from San Antonio as caller. 

The dancing lessons began in the covered pavilion, and became so popular that both the covered pavilion and the open-air pavilion were needed. 

It was quite picturesque to have the ladies colorful long, full skirts swirling at the weekly square dance gatherings.

 It became an exceptional success for a young organization. Once again, goals were met in Landa Park. 

 

Ice Skaters in the Pool

In the midst of the excitement of preparation for the 1946 Centennial Celebration, in addition to the usual crowd at the pool, each afternoon for a week a special busload came from San Antonio. 

The bus was filled with the cast of the most successful “Holiday on Ice” that received record-breaking skating revues following their week’s engagement at the Municipal Auditorium.

 Their message to Park Ranger L. F. Kreitner and Mrs. J. M. Beaty, the hostess of the bathhouse was, “It’s alright to work somewhere else, but Landa Park in New Braunfels is the place to play!”

 

For more info visit www.friendsforlandapark.org and Facebook.  Books are sold at the Parks Office (830-221-4355) or call Tim Barker at 830-629-5015.

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