Visitors will forever see former Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and Hidalgo Foundation founder Tracy Wolff walking along the San Pedro Creek after the couple’s decades of public service was honored in a lasting way.
On Wednesday, the Wolffs were surrounded by city and county employees past and present, family and other prominent San Antonio figures as they witnessed the unveiling of a 6-foot bronze sculpture of themselves.
The statue features the couple looking at each other and holding hands, posed as if they were walking together. Nelson Wolff’s figure is styled with his signature suit and fedora, while Tracy Wolff’s features a simple shift dress and a cross necklace, similar to what she wore to the unveiling.
Bexar County commissioners and Mayor Ron Nirenberg witnessed the unveiling alongside the Wolffs’ children, grandkids and friends, who clapped and photographed the celebratory moment when the statue was unveiled.
The statue was created by Armando Hinojosa, a Laredo artist and former art teacher known for his stone and bronze monuments across the state, including The Tejano Monument sculpture at the Texas Capitol and the Founders Monument outside the Bexar County Courthouse, which features five figures honoring the original Canary Island settlers in San Antonio.
Hinojosa said during the ceremony that he measured every detail of the couple, from their nose widths to their exact heights.
“Nelson and Tracy, you have been so impactful to us and our city and all of the causes that mean so much to us,” said Taylor Eighmy, UTSA. “Whether it’s investing in our children, infrastructure, preparedness for the pandemic, in always pulling together the right people to do the right things at the right time to advocate for our city.”
Tracy Wolff made the first remarks after the unveiling, focusing on her husband’s legacy.
“I’m so very proud of everything [Nelson] has accomplished— there’s no other way to say it,” she said. When Nelson Wolff took the stage, he spoke about how fortunate he was to meet his wife.
“Something extraordinary is happening,” Nelson Wolff said to Tracy. “It looks like you and I will continue to walk along the San Pedro Creek for a long, long time.”
The late San Antonio cardiologist Alfonso Chiscano commissioned the effort to honor the Wolffs.
Chiscano, a native of the Canary Islands who died in 2019 at age 81, was a tireless advocate for honoring the history and accomplishments of the 16 families who came from the Canary Islands to San Antonio in 1731, forming the first government, farming the area and building Villa de San Fernando, now known as the Main Plaza.
Chiscano co-founded the nonprofit Friends of Spain and was an advocate for the Canary Islands Descendants Association to further the cultural, educational and economic exchanges between Spain and the United States.
As part of that work, he commissioned the Founders Monument in San Antonio. He was also instrumental in the restoration of San Fernando Cathedral and helped fund a retablo, or devotional art piece, of the Our Lady of Candelaria, a patron saint of the Canary Islands.
Steve Chiscano, Alfonso Chiscano’s son, said his father wanted to honor the Wolffs in part due to their “unyielding commitment and dedication” to his Spain and Canary Island projects.
“As a typical European, he decided we needed statues,” said Steve Chiscano joked at the unveiling.
Henry and Mary Alice Cisneros spearheaded the fundraising for the statue and collected $250,000, which covered all fees associated with the statue and its installation.
Wolff, who served for 21 years as Bexar County judge, and as a state senator and city councilman before that, has left many indelible marks on San Antonio. He oversaw the building of the Alamodome, the creation of the San Antonio Water System and the southern extension of the River Walk, among his many accomplishments.
Tracy Wolff was honored for founding the Hildago Foundation, a nonprofit that developed and implemented the Children’s Court in Bexar County, preserved the historic Bexar County Courthouse and developed BiblioTechs — all-digital libraries — across San Antonio.
Steve Chiscano said it was important for this father “to honor and commemorate the great work of Nelson and Tracy, and it was something he spoke about quite a bit at the end of his life. It was important for us to make sure we completed this very worthwhile project.”
The location of the statue was also important to his father, Steve Chiscano said. Located along UTSA’s new San Pedro I building, Chiscano said his father hoped future generations would ask who Nelson and Tracy Wolff were and what they did for the community.
“It had that mix of the energy of where the youth of our city will be,” he said of the location.