Dionicio Rodriguez

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Dionicio Rodriguez (1891–1955) was a Mexican-born artist and architect whose work can be seen in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Texas, as well as Washington, D.C. and Mexico City.

His work is noted for its unique style of concrete construction that imitates wood, known as Faux Bois (French for false wood). Gates, benches and artificial rock formations were created by the artist to invite visitors to rest or explore the landscape.

The National Register listing of "The Sculpture of Dionicio Rodriguez in Texas," which includes Woodlawn Garden of Memories, is the result of ten years' research into the life and work of the artisan, by San Antonio historians Maria Watson Pfeiffer and Patsy Pittman Light. Woodlawn is the only known extant cemetery work in Texas by Rodriguez.

Many of his major works of art are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.[1][2][3]


Rodriguez was born on April 11, 1891 in Toluca, State of Mexico, in Mexico. His family moved to Mexico City, D.F., when he was young. When he was older, he worked with his father and brother as a bricklayer.[4]


Japanese Tea Gardens - San Antonio, Texas

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For the Japanese Tea Gardens in San Antonio, Texas he replicated a Japanese Torii gate at the entrance to the gardens. This piece was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005

With the rise of anti-Japanese sentiment of World War II in the 1940s, the gardens were renamed the Chinese Tea Gardens. In 1984, the city restored the original "Japanese Tea Garden" designation in a ceremony.

At least eight of his other sculptures in San Antonio, the Buckeye Park Gate, the bridge in Brackenridge Park, the Fence at Alamo Cement Company, the Fountain at Alamo Cement Company, the Jacala Restaurant, locations in Miraflores Park, the Stations of the Cross and Grotto at the Shrine of St. Anthony de Padua, and the Trolley Stop in Alamo Heights were also added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004 and 2005

Memorial Park Cemetery - Memphis, Tennessee

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In 1935 Rodriguez was hired to beautify the Memorial Park Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee with sculptures. Annie Laurie's Wishing Chair, Broken Tree Bench, Abrahams Oak, Pool of Hebron and Cave of Machpelah are some of the most important sculptures that can be found throughout the cemetery.[5]

Cedar Hill Cemetery, Suitland, Maryland

Working in Cedar Hill Cemetery just outside Washington, D.C. in suburban Suitland, Maryland in 1936 and 1937, Rodriguez built numerous sculptural pieces, including a fallen tree bench, a tiled block bench, two bridges with branch railings and log decks, a tree shelter, and an Annie Laurie wishing chair.[6]

Gallery of works at Cedar Hill Cemetery

Crystal Shrine Grotto

Construction of the Crystal Shrine Grotto began in 1938. The grotto is a 60-foot (18.3-meter) deep, hand-built cave in a hillside near the center of the cemetery, filled with five tons (4.5 metric tons) of quartz crystal, hence the name Crystal Shrine Grotto.[5] The shrines in the grotto illustrate the stages of "Christ's Journey on the Earth from Birth to Resurrection". Rodriguez' sculptures and the Crystal Shrine Grotto in the Memorial Park Cemetery are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.[1]

Crystal Shrine Grotto in the Memorial Park Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee, 2007

Other works include

Further reading

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See also


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  4. Patsy Pittman Light. Capturing Nature: The Cement Sculpture of Dionicio Rodriquez. Texas A&M University Press, College Station, 2008. p 19.
  5. 5.0 5.1 http://www.memorialparkfuneralandcemetery.com/history.aspx Memorial Park Cemetery website
  6. The Sculptures of Dionicio Rodriguez, Cedar Hill Cemetery, 4111 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suitland, MD 20746, 20 Jan 2014.

External links