INASLA History

Excerpts reprinted from “History of the Indiana ASLA Chapter,” by Ron L. Taylor, ASLA "INASLA Centennial Retrospective Book".

On January 4, 1899, eleven individuals met in a small office in New York City and formed the American Society of Landscape Architects, an obscure collection of professionals from an even more obscure trade. Although the formal practiced of landscape architecture was over forty years old at the time, it had yet to establish any semblance of organization, accepted standardized training or public recognition. Many of the charter fellows openly wondered the value of such an organization while the number of practitioners was so few, and the public understanding of the practice so limited. After years of debate, and several informal dinner clubs, a bold step was taken, and the small group assembled into a professional organization.

The Indiana Chapter became the 20th officially recognized State Chapter of ASLA in 1972, with the first official meeting being held on April 6, 1973. Currently, the Indiana Chapter has over 200 members and 70 student affiliates. It ranks approximately 29th (of 47) in size by membership and includes private and public practitioners, scholars, government officials and other diverse practice types. Although none of ASLA’s original eleven members were from the State of Indiana, their spirit is exemplified by the actions of this state organization. Throughout its forty-year history, Indiana’s membership has been recognized as one of the hardest working and highest achieving chapters in the country.

Prior to 1935, ASLA was a single-region organization based mostly in the eastern United States. In 1935 the organization completed its first division, organizing into six regions with sixteen chapters in order to allow landscape architects outside of ASLA’s core eastern cities to have a more regional focus and influence. Indiana was initially part of the Mississippi Valley Chapter. But as the demographics of the profession changed and more practitioners moved into different regions of the country, the boundaries of ASLA’s regional chapters rotated and shifted around the state. Indiana was part of the Cleveland/Southern Ohio Chapter for awhile, and later became part of the Northeast Chapter that included Ohio and Kentucky.

By the late 1960’s, Indiana was an active part of the North Central States Chapter. Its territory included the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. During that time, Indiana was a section of the chapter, with a local president and local officers. The Section as first led by Jim Browning, then John Lantzius, who would become the moving force in the formation of the Indiana Chapter. In 1968, Minnesota broke off to become a state chapter, and Wisconsin followed in 1970, leaving only Illinois and Indiana in the North Central States Chapter.

Archival documents indicate that in 1971, Indiana had 16 full and associate members, 16 student members and nearly an identical number of non-member practitioners. IN 1972, the North Central States Chapter was dissolved, and Illinois and Indiana became the 19th and 20th State Chapters. John Lantzius, ASLA, a professor at Ball State’s “Program in Landscape Architecture” became INASLA’s first president.


1972 – Indiana Chapter formed with John Lantzius as first President.
1973 – First meeting was held at the Memorial Union on the Purdue University campus.
July 1, 1976 – the Ball State Landscape Architecture Program was given Department status. That year, Ball State graduated 9 seniors and Purdue graduated 23. The profession was continuing to attract interest, and Purdue reported that nearly 190 students were enrolled in their landscape architecture program.
1977 – The first Articles of Incorporation were filed for the Indiana Federation of Landscape Architects. This non-profit group led the unsuccessful licensing effort for Indiana’s landscape architects in 1977.
1978 – The Indiana Federation of Landscape Architects was incorporated to head the registration efforts, and a special workshop strategy was held at the 1978 Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, with ASLA National President Lane Marshall.
1979 – The Ball State ASLA Student Chapter received formal sanction from ASLA.
By 1980, the Indian Chapter was larger than half of the other ASLA chapters around the country.
July 1980 - The INASLA Registration Committee reactivated the Articles of Incorporation for another run at achieving passage of a landscape architecture registration act.
September 1980 - INASLA began re-writing the 1977 title act language and securing a sponsor. Through the efforts of some local members, two sponsors were found in the House of Representatives, and on January 19, 1981 the bill was formally introduced into the House for first reading and assigned to the Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedures for further consideration. However, the Chair refused to give it a hearing unless it was reworked in the form of a certification bill. IFLA members refused, and decided to take the legislation to the Senate. There, Senator James Abraham (R) from Anderson sponsored the bill. Mr. Abraham had worked with landscape architects on several projects, and was key in getting the bill passed through the Commerce Committee and the Senate procedures as a Registration of Title Bill.
April 6, 1981 – Indiana Governor Robert Orr signed into law the Landscape Architects Registration Act.
December 1981 – Stan Geda and Gary Bollier were appointed to the Architects Registration Board to represent landscape architects.
September 1982 – INASLA membership reached 100.
November 19-21, 1983 – The Indiana Chapter hosted the 1983 ASLA Annual Meeting: Issues in Design. The meeting was a success, and included focus issues of downtown revitalization, rural heritage, contract in the city, downtown planning and historic preservation.
1984 – Claire Bennett became the first Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects from the Indiana Chapter. She was invested at the ASLA Annual Meeting in Phoenix.
1985 – The big news of 1985 came when the American Institute of Architects issued a position statement against the registration of professionals, such as landscape architects. In their statement, they emphasized that only architects and engineers truly provide for the “health, safety and welfare” of the public and should be the only professions to seal drawings. ASLA and CLARB immediately jumped into action to oppose the statement.
1986 – Gary Bollier was elected Chairman of the Indiana State Board of Registration for Architects, the first landscape architect to do so since the landscape architecture title act was passed.
1988 – At the request of the registration board, the landscape architects began to make “housecleaning” changes to the current legislation and tried to format language that would change the existing title act to a practice act.
1989 – Former INASLA President and Trustee Claire Bennett was elected as President-elect of the national organization. She was the first national president elected from the Indiana membership, and assumed the presidency in 1990.
April 3, 1999 – President George H.W. Bush came to Indianapolis to plant a ceremonial elm tree as part of Indianapolis’ “Trees for Tomorrow” program. Bush and Indianapolis Mayor William Hudnut spoke to the crowd on the issue of urban forestry and the increasingly important roles of trees and green space in the global environment. During the ceremony, he planted an American Elm tree that was in the progeny of an elm that John Quincy Adams planted on the south lawn of the White House. INASLA members were involved in the design of Presidential Place, a small urban plaza that hosted the celebration and the presidential tree. The paved plaza depicts the 1821 Indianapolis city plan designed by Alexander Ralson, centered around the ceremonial tree.
1991 – Don Molnar was selected as Indiana’s second Fellow.
1994 – InSite debuted.
1995 – Purdue Landscape Architecture Program celebrated its 30th anniversary.
1997 – Legislative efforts began to upgrade Indiana’s title act to a practice act. During its initial stages, there was much conflict reaching a resolution on how to approach the upgrade. The effort gained consensus when several landscape architect-certified site plans were rejected in late 1997 by the State’s Office of the State Building Commissioner. In response, INASLA directed its Legislative Committee to develop an action plan to address this issue. After several meetings with key agencies, they reported that the current law needed to be upgraded to a practice act. The Indiana Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) was reactivated to lead the licensure efforts in Indiana.
1997 – Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio Chapters jointly nominated Virginia Russell for Fellowship. She was inducted in 1997.
1997 – First INASLA Public Relations Plan, resulting in production of new marketing materials and the chapter’s first web page in 1998.
1998 – At the 1998 ASLA Annual Meeting in Portland, the Indiana Chapter was presented with the 1998 President’s Cup acknowledging the Chapter’s outstanding program in 1998. The award is the highest honor given to chapters by the national organization.
1998 – HB 1680 (landscape architecture practice act) was introduced in the Indiana House of Representatives by Rep. Sheila J. Klinker (D). Because of strong opposition from the Consulting Engineers of Indiana, the bill was tabled, effectively killing it for the current term.
1998 – The Indiana Chapter presented a special Lifetime Achievement Award to long-time member Mark M. Holemen, ASLA to recognize his lifelong commitment to the community through philanthropic endeavors, contributions and achievements in the landscape architecture profession.
1999- ASLA Centennial. INASLA selected ten projects as Medallion Landscapes and presented plaques to mayors and communities across Indiana in recognition of this distinction. INASLA developed two significant projects as our 100 Parks, 100 Years Program: The Indiana School for the Blind Monon Trailhead and the Prophetstown State Park Trail Charettes. NASLA also conducted the 100 Years School Tree Planting Program, where members throughout the state made presentations at schools about landscape architecture and planted trees at each school to commemorate the centennial. The chapter held several other special events to mark the centennial. INASLA co-hosted a special Midwest Centennial Celebration in Madison, Wisconsin in April. In May, INASLA sponsored a trip to one of Olmsted’s greatest works, the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. And the chapter published a special Centennial Retrospective Book and Membership Directory developed specifically to mark the Centennial. The chapter developed and produced one of the most comprehensive Centennial Programs of any ASLA Chapter.
February 23, 2000 – Senate Bill 244, the Landscape Architecture Practice Act, cleared its final legislative hurdle. Governor Frank O’Bannon signed the bill.
July 1, 2000 – Landscape Architecture practice act becomes law.
September 2001 – Indiana School for the Blind Trailhead project opens to the public.
2000 – C. Edward Curtin elected to the national position of Vice President of Finance for ASLA.
2002 – Indiana School for the Blind Trailhead project receives Monumental Affair Award.
April 2003 – Indiana ASLA Chapter celebrates its 30th Anniversary with the 30 in ’03 Gala in Indianapolis.
April 2003 – Indiana ASLA Chapter celebrates its 30th Anniversary with the 30 in ’03 Gala in Indianapolis. At this gala, C. Edward Curtin, Malcolm Cairns and Bernie Dahl are awarded the inaugural “Claire Bennet Legacy Award” in recognition of their contributions to the state chapter. The Award honors past INASLA and past national ASLA President Claire Bennett.
2004 – C. Edward Curtin and Malcolm Cairns are inducted as Fellows of the American Society of Landscape Architects at the ASLA Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City.
April 2005 – The Indiana Chapter is one of ten chapters to receive special recognition for their programming activities during the first annual ASLA National Landscape Architecture Month.
2007 – Scott Siefker becomes the first Indiana Chapter member to be elected as Chair of the ASLA Chapter President’s Council.
2008 – Bernie Dahl inducted into the Fellows of the American Society of Landscape Architect during the ASLA Annual Meeting. 
2010 – Indiana Chapter member Katie Clark elected as Chair of th%MCEPASTEBIN%e ASLA Chapter President’s Council.
October 2010 – David Gorden awarded the INASLA Claire Bennet Legacy Award at the INASLA annual meeting in recognition of his long-time service to the Indiana Chapter.
2010-11 – The Indiana Chapter launches social media campaign and participates in the 08.06.11 Landscape Architecture Public Awareness Day.
Sept 4, 2012 – "Women in the Dirt" National Documentary and Women's Landscape Architecture Panel at the IMA. 120 in Attendance
April 27, 2013 – "Day of Public Service" at Outside the Box
2013 – Katie Clark was CPC Chair
2013 – Chapter builds and donates sensory garden during Day of Service at Outside-the-Box, Indianapolis
2013 – INASLA Annual Meeting hosted National VP of Government Affairs Chad Danos
April 2014 – City of Indianapolis Proclamation "Landscape Architecture Month"
2014 – INASLA Annual Meeting hosted ASLA Federal Government Affairs Roxanne Blackwell and Indianapolis Mayor Ballard
October 2014  – Indiana Chapter's 40th Anniversary
2014 – Les Smith, Meg Storrow, and Ron Taylor are awarded the INASLA Claire Bennet Legacy Award at the INASLA annual meeting.
2014  – Jonathon Geels joins the Government Affairs Advisory Committee
2014-2015  – Drew Braley serves on the LAM Committee
April 8, 2015 – 50th Anniversary of Ball State CAP
April 17th, 2015 – 50th Anniversary Purdue Landscape Architecture
April 2015 – State of Indiana Proclamation "National Landscape Architecture Month"
April 2015 – City of South Bend Resolution recognizing World Landscape Architecture Month
April 2015 – City of Fishers Resolution "Landscape Architecture Month"
April 2015 – City of Elkhart Resolution recognizing World Landscape Architecture Month
2015 – State licensure successfully defended against de-regulation threat. 
2015 – INASLA delegation defeated the Indiana Job Creation Committee's proposal to deregulate landscape architects. Delegates included Joe Blalock (BSU DOLA Chair), Sean Rotar (Purdue DOLA rep), Meg Storrow (Storrow Kinsella), Kevin Osburn (REA), Barth Hendrickson (BDMD), and Jonathon Geels (INASLA Chapter President)
2015 – INASLA hosted the first Midwest Joint Licensure Caucus with representatives from Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Kentucky, as well as ASLA National President Richard Zweifel and ASLA State Government Affairs Director Julia Lent
2015 – INASLA Annual Meeting hosted National President Richard Zweifel
October 2015 – Scott Siefker awarded the INASLA Claire Bennet Legacy Award at the INASLA annual meeting.
2015-2016  – David Gordon and April Westcott served on the Public Relations Committee
2015-2016  – Dan Liggett served on the Licensure Committee
April 2016 – State of Indiana Proclamation "World Landscape Architecture Month"
April 12, 2016 – City of Indianapolis  Proclamation "Landscape Architect Day"
April 2016 – City Proclamations for "Landscape Architecture Month" (Mishawaka, South Bend, Valparaiso, West Lafayette, Fishers, Terre Haute)
April 21, 2016 – "10 Parks that Changed America" PBS Documentary National Premier in Indianapolis hosting Senior Producer Dan Protess. 
2016 – ASLA National Advocacy Day held in Indianapolis, IN with 38 delegates from around the country.  Site tours included White River State Park, Georgia Street, the Canal, and the Cultural Trail.
2016 – INASLA Annual Meeting hosted Fishers Mayor Fadness
2016 – Katie Clark awarded the INASLA Claire Bennet Legacy Award at the INASLA annual meeting.
2017 – Sean Rotar serves as the chair of the Education Committee.  Malcom Cairns serves on the committee
2017 – David Gorden serves on the LA CES auditing committee. 

History of Landscape Architecture

The origin of today's profession of landscape architecture can be traced to the early treatments of outdoor space by successive ancient cultures, from Persia and Egypt through Greece and Rome. During the Renaissance, this interest in outdoor space, which had waned during the Middle Ages, was revived with splendid results in Italy and gave rise to ornate villas, and great outdoor piazzas.

These precedents greatly influenced the chateaux and urban gardens of 17th-century France, where landscape architecture and design reached new heights of sophistication and formality. For the first time, the garden designers became well known. Andre le Notre, who designed the gardens at Versailles and Vaux-le-Vicomte, was among the most famous of the early forerunners of today's landscape architects. In the 18th-century, most English "landscape gardeners," such as Lancelot "Capability" Brown, who remodeled the grounds of Blenheim Palace, rejected the geometric emphasis of the French in favor of imitating the forms of nature.

One important exception was Sir Humphrey Repton. He reintroduced formal structure into landscape design with the creation of the first great public park - Victoria Park in London (1845) and Birkenhead Park in Liverpool (1847). In turn, these two parks would greatly influence the development of landscape architecture in the United States and Canada.

Frederick Law Olmsted - "Father of American Landscape Architecture"

The history of the profession in North America is often considered to truly begin with Frederick Law Olmsted, who rejected the name "landscape gardener" in favor of the title of "landscape architect," which he felt better reflected the scope of the profession. In 1863, official use of the designation "landscape architect" by New York's park commissioners marked the symbolic genesis of landscape architecture as a modern design profession.

Olmsted was a pioneer and visionary for the profession. His projects, which illustrate the highest of professional standards, include the design of Central Park in New York with Calvert Vaux in the late 1850's and the U.S. Capitol Grounds in the 1870's. Olmsted and his firm advanced the concept of parks as well-designed, functional, public green spaces amid the grayness of the urban areas.

Early Developments: Late 1800's

In the ensuing years, the profession of landscape architecture broadened. It played a major role in fulfilling the growing national need for well-planned and well-designed urban environments. Urban parks, metropolitan park systems, planned suburban residential enclaves and college campuses were planned and developed in large numbers, climaxing with the City Beautiful movement at the turn of the century.

Although the profession itself grew slowly, its early practitioners such as Olmsted, Vaux and Horace Cleveland were among the first to take part in the town planning movement and to awaken interest in civic design. Olmsted also joined other early landscape architects in working on projects in other urban settings, such as Yosemite Valley and Niagara Falls.

In 1899, the American Society of Landscape Architects was founded by 11 people in New York - most of them associated with Olmsted. The Society continued to represent landscape architects throughout the United States. In 1900, Olmsted's son, Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., organized and taught Harvard University's first course in landscape architecture.

Broadening and Diversifying: The 20th Century

Landscape architecture continued to influence the city beautification and planning movement well into the 20th century, as growing cities used the services of professionally-trained landscape architects. The L'Enfant Plan for the nation's capitol was revived and expanded by the McMillan commission of 1901. Chicago, Cleveland and other cities also used landscape architects to lay out comprehensive development plans.

By the 1920's, urban planning separated from architecture / landscape architecture into a separate profession, with its own degree programs and organizations. Yet, landscape architecture continued to remain a major force in urban planning and urban design.

During and after the Depression, opportunities to design national and state parks, towns, parkways and new urban park systems broadened the profession. The focus of American landscape architecture returned to its roots in public projects - a trend which has continued through today.