In 1983 the San Antonio City Council ordained that the original name of “Japanese Tea Garden” be restored to the site.
In consideration of the number of Japanese-Americans who fought honorably on the side of the United States during World War II.
The Japanese Tea Garden is a beloved San Antonio place, for nearly a century it has been an oasis for visitors from around the world.
Described by “Architectural Record” as, “A remarkable adaptation of design to existing conditions”, the garden is a registered Texas Historic Landmark and listed on The National Register of Historic Places.
The Japanese Tea Garden’s timeless beauty will continue to enchant visitors for generations.
*The above picture was taken as an homage to my Mom who brought me here in the mid-eighties to photograph the garden, a similar picture taken by her hangs in the hallway of my house. The following shot is my favorite of this series, my husband helped me climb to a spot where I was able to shoot the garden from overhead and catch the San Antonio Skyline in the distance.
The Jingu family remained in the home until shortly after the December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor Incident.
The resulting general fear and resentment by the American public caused the Jingu family to be removed from the garden and its name was changed to “Chinese Tea Garden”.
It was at this time that the Chinese-style entry was added bearing the inscription “Chinese Tea Garden”, this oriental-design, cement sculpted entry was purportedly designed by Maximo Cortez and constructed by Dionico Rodriguez.
Mr. Rodriguez was a Mexican National who is credited with a number of cement structures in San Antonio.
He kept his techniques secret, working always in a tent using tools he made on site, from tin, wood, et cetera; his process consisted of a metal rod base on which he developed three-dimensional designs with layers of especially prepared cement.
He did not divulge either his process of cement sculpture or his process of coloring the cement layers.
He spoke no English and a few co-workers learned by observation only, he is credited with having created various other sculptures throughout the United States in addition to those in the San Antonio area.
Normally I am the writer of what is posted with my pictures but sometime someone else has said it best. For this series of posts what is written is actually what is posted on the plaques outside of the San Antonio Japanese Tea Gardens affectionately known to locals as Sunken Gardens.
The idea of a Japanese Tea Garden was conceived by city parks commissioner Ray Lambert in the early 1900’s in an effort to beautify the rock quarries which had earlier been abandoned by the San Antonio Portland cement company.
Artist Jingu had recently arrived in San Antonio with his family, had been employed by the US Army and was selling his watercolor paintings part-time at a shop in downtown San Antonio.The Japanese Tea Garden was completed and christened in 1919, having been constructed with prison labor and both corporate and both corporate and individual donations. Commissioner Lambert had given particular effort to achieving true Japanese design and had imported numerous plants from gardens existing in Japan.
A house was constructed on the site using rocks from the old quarry and the Jingu family was moved into the house to act as overseers for the facility.In 1926 the Jingus opened a tea house in the upper level of their home. Before his death in 1936, Mr Jingu had become nationally recognized for his knowledge of teas.