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Alexander Memorial Library, originally the La Salle County Library, began as a subscription library in 1937 in a room at the La Salle County Courthouse with 100 books borrowed from the State Library. It is because of the efforts of the Woman's Club of Cotulla that the library was started, and they have continued to be avid supporters of the library throughout the years. Today, the library is a beautiful 5,600 square foot building that houses over 20,000 books, videos, audio books, and music CDs for public use.

Alexander Memorial Library was built in 1973, thanks to the generous donation of Mr. & Mrs. A. B. "Ben" Alexander, who built it in memory of his parents. It now serves to memorialize the late Ben and Ida Alexander as well. The Alexander Trust Fund donated two other substantial gifts that allowed the library to add on to the children's area and meeting room, which created a computer lab, a genealogy room, office, kitchen, and handicapped accessible facilities. The library added new shelving for its expanding collection, new carpeting and a wall-mounted book drop for patrons' convenience.

The children's area, called Alexander Ranch, is dedicated to Ben and Ida Alexander.  A Children's Area Book Housefarmhouse, barn, fence, and windmill hold the colorful picture books for young readers. Clouds fly overhead while a book tree and rolling pasture grace the walls.
Mr. Ben was born on March 9, 1893, in Round Rock, Texas. He attended school in La Porte until the age of fourteen when he attended Peacock Military School in San Antonio until his graduation from high school. He returned home to La Porte where he met and began dating Miss Ida O. Busch.

In late 1912 or early 1913, Mr. Ben went to work for the same company his father worked for: Lykes Brothers, Inc. where he learned the shipping, cattle and ranching business. In 1913 he traveled to Cuba for Lykes and worked on the company's ranches. After only a few years he was running the Camaqueyn Ranch.

On June 4, 1918 Mr. Ben married Miss Ida in Havana, Cuba. The Alexanders returned to the United States when Mr. Ben was drafted into the Army on August 30, 1918. He was stationed at Camp Travis in San Antonio until he was honorably discharged in the summer of 1919, returning to Cuba for four more years.

Back in La Porte, Mr. Ben started buying cattle and horses for Lykes Bros. to ship to Cuba and other parts of the world. His dream to own his own land came true in 1925 when he bought land in La Salle County. He raised Santa Gertrudis cattle, a deep, red-colored breed that originally started on the historic King Ranch near Kingsville, Texas.

In 1940 the United States Department of Agriculture recognized the Santa Gertrudis as a purebred. Today there are thousands of Santa Gertrudis herds, each having to pass strict requirements in order to keep the breed pure. In Volume I of the Santa Gertrudis Herd Book are the first 283 herds recorded. Mr. Ben's herd was #78, making him one of the first ranchers to raise Santa Gertrudis cattle.

Mrs. Ida was a very accomplished pianist who taught piano lessons most of her life. She loved classical music and the opera, and the library has added some special music books to honor her memory and her love of music.

Mr. Ben became a member of the Methodist Church in 1959. He and Mrs. Ida were very generous in giving money to the churches in the community, and became known for their many other contributions in Cotulla. The Alexanders donated land for the American Legion Post and rodeo arena, and later, funds to build a new library in 1973.

Mrs. Ida Alexander passed away November 21, 1977, and Mr. Ben followed on May 22, 1984 at the age of 91. They left a legacy to our community in the form of a trust fund, and the Alexanders' tremendous support continued through the years under the guidance of a close friend, Walter Bielstein of San Antonio. The La Salle County Fair Association received land and money for improvements and the construction of buildings at the fair grounds. The City of Cotulla received funds to create the A.B. Alexander Convention Center, and the La Salle County Youth Rodeo Association received funds to help build one of the finest rodeo arenas in South Texas.

Cotulla is definitely a better place because of Mr. Ben and Mrs. Ida Alexander, and the community will forever appreciate their generous hearts as well as Walter Bielstein's commitment to preserving their memory by supporting worthwhile projects in Cotulla and La Salle County.. 

Mr Ben Painting

child house

Updated:  Sep 20, 2017
Alexander Memorial Library
201 S. Center Street
Cotulla, Texas 78014