Historic sculptured bench near San Antonio Zoo damaged in hail storm

Felled pecan tree damaged bench created by artist Dionicio Rodriguez

Historic sculpture bench outside San Antonio Zoo. (KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – A historic bench outside the San Antonio Zoo has been damaged after a felled pecan tree landed on it during a severe hail storm Wednesday night.

The bench was created by world-renowned artist Dionicio Rodriguez - a Mexican citizen who came to San Antonio in 1924, according to Patsy Pittman Light who wrote a biography about the artist.

San Antonio Zoo President and CEO Tim Morrow told KSAT he hopes the bench will be repaired and that the zoo “will be utilizing some of the fallen tree for animal enrichment and habitat features.”

“Elephants like to play with tree trunks and we use larger pieces for habitats such as big cats,” said Morrow. “Enrichment wise they are put into exhibits for play so animals can move them around, tear them apart, lay on them etc.”

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KSAT reached out to San Antonio Parks and Recreation Director Homer Garcia III and received the following statement:

Staff is securing the structure with fencing, then we’ll work to assess repair and restoration of the damaged bench. Parks will coordinate with an artisan during this process including an estimate for any work. A timeline is to be determined as our first order of business is to secure the amenity as we continue to assess any other storm-related damage across the entire parks system.

The bench isn’t the only sculpture Rodriguez contributed to San Antonio, he built the entrance gate to the Japanese Tea Garden in addition to a plethora of other works. “That gate, and fourteen other Rodriguez artworks are listed in the National Register of Historic Places,” according to a report from Texas Public Radio.

Rodriguez also built a pedestrian bridge in Brackenridge Park, a trolley stop at Broadway Street and Patterson Avenue, a grotto at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, and more.

Historic sculpture bench outside San Antonio Zoo. (KSAT)

Watch for more information about artist Dionicio Rodriguez:

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.