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.
Dionicio Rodríguez died in San Antonio on December 16, 1955, and was buried in San Fernando Archdiocesan Cemetery; he had no immediate survivors.
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.
Rodriguez was born on April 11, 1891 in Toluca, State of Mexico, in Mexico to Catarino Rodriguez and Luz Alegria de Rodriguez. 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. At one time he worked with Pedro Ximénez, whose wife, Beatrice, would go on to become a cement sculptor of note herself.
Japanese Tea Gardens
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
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.
Cedar Hill Cemetery
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.
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. 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.
- Aviary at the Houston Zoo, 1513 N. McGregor Houston, TX, NRHP-listed
- Buckeye Park Gate, 1600 W. Wildwood San Antonio, TX, NRHP-listed
- Chinese Sunken Garden Gate, Brackenridge Park, 400 N. St. Mary's St. San Antonio, TX, NRHP-listed
- Couchwood, 601 Couchwood Rd., Shorewood Hills, AR, NRHP-listed
- Crestview Park, Crestview and Cherry Hill Drives, North Little Rock, AR, NRHP-listed
- Dionicio Rodriguez Bridge in Brackenridge Park, 400 N. St. Mary's St. San Antonio, TX, NRHP-listed
- Eddingston Court, 3300 Proctor St. Port Arthur, TX, NRHP-listed
- Fence at Alamo Cement Company, 7300 Jones Maltsberger Rd. San Antonio, TX, NRHP-listed
- Fountain at Alamo Cement Company, 7300 Jones Maltsberger Rd. San Antonio, TX, NRHP-listed
- Gate, Fence and Hollow Tree Shelter Designed by Dionicio Rodriguez, 320 Oak St. Clayton, NM, NRHP-listed
- Gazebo for Albert Steves, 105 FM 473, at east portion of property Comfort, TX, NRHP-listed
- Gazebo for James Richard Marmion, 1214 County Rd. Sweeny, TX, NRHP-listed
- Jacala Restaurant, 2702 N. St. Mary's St. San Antonio, TX, NRHP-listed
- Lakewood Park, Address Restricted North Little Rock, AR, NRHP-listed
- Little Switzerland, Address Restricted Shorewood Hills, AR, NRHP-listed
- Miraflores Park, 1184 E Hildebrand Ave. San Antonio, TX, NRHP-listed
- Palapa Table for James Richard Marmion, 1214 County Rd. Sweeny, TX, NRHP-listed
- T. R. Pugh Memorial Park, 3800 Lakeshore Drive, North Little Rock, AR, NRHP-listed
- Sculptures of Dionicio Rodriguez at Memorial Park Cemetery, 5668 Poplar Ave. Memphis, TN, NRHP-listed
- Stations of the Cross and Grotto at the Shrine of St. Anthony de Padua, 100 Peter Baque Rd. San Antonio, TX, NRHP-listed
- Trolley Stop in Alamo Heights, 4900 blk of Broadway Alamo Heights, TX, NRHP-listed
- Woodlawn Garden of Memories Cemetery, 1101 Antoine Houston, TX, NRHP-listed
- Light, Patsy Pittman (2008). Capturing Nature: The Cement Sculpture of Dionicio Rodriguez. Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 978-1-58544-610-0.
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- National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- Julie Vosmik (October 9, 1986). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: The Arkansas Sculptures of Dionicio Rodriguez" (PDF).
- Patsy Light and Maria Pfeiffer (2004). "National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Documentation: Sculpture by Dionicio Rodriguez in Texas" (PDF).
- Patsy Pittman Light. Capturing Nature: The Cement Sculpture of Dionicio Rodriquez. Texas A&M University Press, College Station, 2008. p 19.
- KENDALL, CURLEE, (15 June 2010). "XIMENEZ, BEATRICE VALDEZ". Retrieved 24 February 2017.
- http://www.memorialparkfuneralandcemetery.com/history.aspx Memorial Park Cemetery website
- The Sculptures of Dionicio Rodriguez, Cedar Hill Cemetery, 4111 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suitland, MD 20746, 20 Jan 2014.
- http://encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=503 EncyclopediaOfArkansas.net
- Capturing Nature: The Cement Sculpture of Dionicio Rodriguez, a book about Rodriguez's work
- Studio Cortes, the professional website of Carlos Cortes, great-nephew of Dionicio Rodriguez, who is carrying on the family artistic tradition