Woodlawn Garden of Memories

WoodlawnCemetery_feature_BarrettDoherty_2014.jpg
Houston, TX
United States
Woodlawn Garden of Memories

Landscape Information

Woodlawn Cemetery

Located in northwest Houston, this 60-acre cemetery was founded in 1931. Laid out amidst mature canopy trees on rural farmland, the burial ground was established by the non-profit Woodlawn Cemetery Corporation, but then transferred to the Woodlawn Association in 1937. Oriented on a north-south axis, an interconnected network of linear roads divided the cemetery into rectilinear sections. In its earliest days, upright tombstones and a pastoral setting characterized the burial ground. In 1940 Woodlawn Cemetery was renamed Woodlawn Garden of Memories and it was specified that flat, bronze markers would be used in several newly established garden-themed sections (e.g. Garden of Prayer, Garden of the Rugged Cross). At this time, Mexican-born sculptor Dionicio Rodríguez was commissioned to create several faux bois memorials for the cemetery. His textured and tinted concrete sculptures, designed to resemble wood, include a honeycomb rock fountain, two long benches that resemble fallen trees, a planter basket, and a 25-foot-high cross encircled by four benches. Additionally, he created the Annie Laurie Wishing Chair, a replica of one that occupies a church in Scotland.

A wrought-iron fence with limestone columns partially encloses the grounds, which are flanked by commercial and residential areas. Today, with more than 18,000 interments, the grounds also include an administrative building, a funeral home, and three mausoleums, as well as a section reserved for veteran burials and a cremation garden. Lawn covers most of the grounds, which are shaded by mature pine, oak, and hickory and ornamented with flowering trees and shrubs including crape myrtle, nandina, and oleander. In 2004 Woodlawn was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.