The Stolz Name Is Written In Stone
|“The faults of
our brothers we write upon the sands. Their virtues on the tablets of love and
memory.” -inscription on Elks Lodge cornerstone, Salida, Colorado |
for stopping by.” -epitaph on headstone near Round
courtesy H.H.Howze, 2008|
before every boomer household coveted granite countertops, the hard stuff was
best known for its use in monuments (from the Latin monere, “to remind”).
Lorenz W. Stolz, Jr. of La
Grange understands this better than most. He is a third generation “monumentalist.”
Stolz’s grandfather, Otto, put granite around the decaying tomb of Mier
and Dawson men on Monument
Hill in 1933. “It’s a tomb within a tomb,” said park director Dennis Smith.
His father, the senior Lorenz, erected the art deco shellcrete monument
installed next to the tomb in 1936 by the Texas
In his own right, Lorenz Jr., designed and built
the World War II memorial
on the state capitol grounds.
“It was commissioned by the Travis County
Gold Star Mothers in 1948,” Stolz said, “and includes the name of every armed
forces member from Travis County lost in the war.”
tall, trim man with an alert air and neatly groomed white hair, Stolz owns and
operates L.W. Stolz Memorials at 455 E. Street Travis Street in La
Grange. He took over the firm from his father in 1975.
It’s the firm’s
second location. When purchased by Otto Stolz in 1895, it was known as
the La Grange Marble Works and was located on the corner of Main and Crockett
Streets across from the old jail.
The Stolz Mansion.
Photo courtesy H.H.Howze, 2008|
|The Stolz home faces
Washington Street and backs up to the former marble works, now apartments.|
An impressive Greek Revival mansion, the house has undergone some extensive changes
through the years, according to Stolz.
“It started as a one story house,
but my grandfather put on the second floor after a fire burned the roof,” he said.
front yard of L. W. Stolz Memorials, across Travis Street from the H-E-B,
is studded with headstones. Polished examples of the stonecutters’ gritty art
patiently await the inevitable customer. Massive chunks of rough-quarried granite
lie along one side.
W. Stolz Memorials. Photo courtesy H.H.Howze, 2008|
|Behind the tile-roofed,
Mediterranean-style office stands a cavernous metal shed with rolling hoists where
the stones are loaded and unloaded. Across a dirt driveway are workshops and storage
Stolz’s late model convertible is parked in the driveway between
the office and work area. At 83, he looks and acts much younger. An acquaintance
described him as “something of a ladies’ man.” He is a lifelong bachelor.
serving as president of the Chamber of Commerce for five years, Stolz was elected
mayor in 1969 and re-elected three times. He retired undefeated in 1977.
Granite veins run deep in the Stoltz family. At one time, there were three Llano
granite quarries in the family. They were owned and operated by Stolz’s uncle.
For many years, the Stolz family firm was the largest of its kind in Texas
with branches and showrooms in Llano,
Beaumont and Victoria.
“That’s llanite,” Stolz explained indicating several of the massive granite
chunks lining the edge of his property.
He added that it is very hard,
no longer quarried and therefore rare. Llanite has a blue crystalline inclusion
which makes it stunningly beautiful when polished.
It’s enough to make
one re-think cremation.
Lorenz Stoltz appears capable of making memorials
for many more years. Perhaps he should reserve some llanite for his own.
shoe horses, don't they?"
October 8, 2008 column
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