Sculptor’s son, grandson pay emotional visit to statue of Aztec emperor

Cuauhtémoc stands defiantly atop his pedestal at Miraflores

It was a rare look at a statue of the last ruler of the Aztec empire by the sculptor’s son and grandson.

SAN ANTONIO – For the first time in more than 20 years, the son and grandson of sculptor Luis Sanchez paid an emotional visit to the statue he created almost a century ago of Cuauhtémoc, the last ruler of the Aztec empire.

Gabriel Sanchez Jr., the sculptor’s grandson, said to be able to actually touch the statue his grandfather created, and stand where he stood 100 years ago, “It feels really good. It’s amazing.”

They said Cuauhtémoc made a final, futile effort to save the empire that had been ravaged by the Spaniards’ greed, stealing its gold and riches.

“I believe that’s one of the reasons Dr. Aureliano asked my dad to build the Cuauhtémoc,” his son said, referring to Dr. Aureliano Urrutia, a prominent physician who fled to San Antonio during the Mexican Revolution.

He created Miraflores with its gardens and statues, as a private sanctuary.

A symposium later this month is dedicated to its history and cultural significance.

Elise Urrutia, his great-granddaughter, also has a website dedicated to Miraflores and the research and writing she’s done about her great-grandfather’s legacy.

However, the statue itself, like much of Miraflores, is in need of repair and restoration.

In 2006, the city acquired Miraflores, located north of Broadway along Hildebrand, adjacent to Brackenridge Park.

Miraflores remains closed as the city and Brackenridge Park Conservancy work to develop a plan to someday make it a public park, and decide its priorities for restoration, including the statue of Cuauhtémoc.

Lynn Osborne Bobbitt, its executive director, said donors can not only choose to support the conservancy, “If they’d like to dedicate it to Miraflores, we’d love that.”

Miraflores, now a 4.5-acre property, located near the headwaters of the San Antonio River, across from the University of the Incarnate Word, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

Bill Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.