The End of an Era
The oldest photo I have of the DiRienzo family business is very clearly dated 1911. That means the humble, wood-frame building next to Forest Hill and Resurrection cemeteries that housed the family business stood for at least 111 years. That's long enough to produce about two clients per month that share their memory of walking to and from West Highschool everyday- and thus walking right by DiRienzo.
The students may not have given the building or the business much thought as they walked by, but inside were a family of stone-cutters working in a relatively obscure industry, doing what most immigrant families and their descendants did: work and strive to carve out a life in the land of opportunity.
Years and generations of hard work has undoubtedly earned the DiRienzo family at least a small footnote in Madison history. Even though the company has been owned by a few different local entrepreneurs since the family sold in 1986, it is a testament to their legacy that the name and the business endures. I am certain that Angelo DiRienzo would be proud.
On June 1, 2022, the old Madison landmark was demolished to make way for what will surely be something equally valuable to the community. It was certainly a bittersweet event to watch- even if just for 10 minutes as I took photos and video footage. While I'm not directly related to the DiRienzo family, I couldn't help but to imagine as if I were for those brief few minutes. It's hard not to feel a little sentimental watching a building that housed such a long-lasting, multi-generational family business be removed from the cityscape.
The silver lining: DiRienzo is more capable than ever before. Our staff are the area's most experienced crew of memorial designers, tradesmen and tradeswomen. We have the area's largest production facility and warehouse that customers are welcome to visit anytime. We handle many of large, community projects throughout southern Wisconsin- including a vast majority of the Veterans Memorials in Dane County.
The original building may be gone, but we are here to stay.