Due to the 2007 Bond and the Broadway Drainage Project, Miraflores is undergoing some restoration and stabilization work required because the 4.5 acre park is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Texas State Antiquities Landmark. In its prime, Miraflores was an eccentric personal garden for Dr. Aureliano Urrutia and his family. An unusually diverse variety of garden ornaments including benches, urns, sculpture and fountains proliferated throughout the pleasure garden. The garden ornaments, water features, plant collections and walking paths were knit together by a complex circulation plan organized through cross-axial lines and terminal focal points typical of American and European estate gardens of this time period. However, years of neglect and drought have taken their toll and the beauty of the original garden has been compromised.
A master plan was developed and approved in 2008, and all project work has been designed in compliance with applicable preservation laws, codes and specifically, the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties (rev. 1995).
The most recent work along Hildebrand has incorporated a wide accessible sidewalk outside the stone wall of the park, and the stone wall and fence are being re-built and/or refurbished where they were impacted by the drainage project. The Hollow Log Gate (a great example of “trabajo rustico”) at the northwest corner of the park is being repaired by Carlos Cortes who is a great nephew of the original artisan, Dionicio Rodriguez. Mr. Cortes also repaired the Saguaro Cactus sculpture (also a fine example of “trabajo rustico” for which Dionicio Rodriguez was famous) which will be re-installed in its original location when all of the construction machinery is no longer on site.
The Entry Gate Towers are in the process of being cleaned, the lanterns restored, the tile restored or replaced, the roofs restored, and the entry gates restored. Decorative plaster which has fallen off the towers over the years will be replaced, and by December 2014, the entry to Miraflores from Hildebrand will look much better than it has for a long time. This icon of San Antonio’s cultural landscape deserves to be completely restored so that visitors can enjoy the park once again.
“Every effort should be made to preserve and maintain the landscapes we inherit and the original systems of maintaining them. Once these are lost it is difficult or impossible to reinstate this cultural heritage.” J. Patrick Manhart, 2014, Cultural Landscape Foundation October Newsletter