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.


Some highlights of the Chapter’s achievements and accomplishments include:



  • 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 the 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.