Category Archives: About Us

History of the League

League Archivist:   Paul S. Bryan, AIA

Our History

ALNNJ Seal

A 1937 plaster carving used as a model for an Awards Medal featuring the League Seal.

The Architects League of Northern New Jersey has been proudly serving our members since 1928, when Harry Allan Lucht, Clarence Tabor, H.G. Anderson and others organized the League.  View the notice regarding the League’s first meeting here. The League was founded with 18 members.  By April 1929, membership had grown to 39 members located as far north as Hillsdale, as far west as Paterson, as far south as Newark, and as far east as Brooklyn, New York.  To see a 1930 photo of the ALNNJ, click here.   Today, our membership is approximately 450, located principally throughout Sussex, Passaic, Bergen, and Hudson counties.

With tremendous growth anticipated in the region due to the completion of the George Washington Bridge, one of the League’s primary initiatives was to promote the architects’ role in the proper planning and development of communities.  With the onset of development, the League began to take an active role in advocating the development of parks in the region.  ALNNJ also worked to fight the proliferation of billboards throughout Northern New Jersey.

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Charter members of the Architects League (Click on photo to enlarge)

After World War II, League membership continued to grow, and the League developed community outreach programs, such as scholarships and adult school classes.  In 1969, when faced with dwindling membership and a lack of volunteers for its committees, the Hudson County Chapter of the New Jersey Society of Architects began investigating consolidation options with neighboring sections. At the time, the Architects League was the largest of the eight AIA sections in New Jersey (there are six sections today), with 116 members.  The Hudson County Chapter had 28 members.   Negotiations with the Architects League began in 1969, and by the end of that year, the merger of the two sections was approved.  Although names such as “Architects Confederation” and “North Jersey Chapter” were proposed for the consolidated group, the name “Architects League of Northern New Jersey” remained.

At present, the League offers strong educational programs to its members through its regular monthly meetings, Arthur Davis Lecture, and, in conjunction with AIA Newark & Suburban, the annual Trade Show which provides several educational seminars and puts members face-to-face with vendors offering the latest information on building materials and technology. ALNNJ remains forever mindful of supporting our future professionals through our scholarship programs, funded largely through the Annual Golf Outing. The League offers three scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students in architecture. 2015 marked the establishment of a new scholarship for high school seniors that have been accepted to an NAAB accredited architecture program.

Through these collective efforts, the League remains an advocate of the profession, and with the support of its members, will continue to do so in the years to come.

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Harry Allan Lucht, who helped pioneer the Architects League, was a recipient of the Vegliante Award in 1933.

Vegliante Award Recipients and Past Presidents The Vegliante Award is the highest accolade that can be bestowed onto a member of the Architects League. It is presented to Architects who distinguish themselves for their contribution to the advancement of the profession.  Anton Vegliante came to this country from Italy and started his career as a painting contractor. He taught himself English and became an architect. He lived and practiced in Garfield where he designed numerous churches and schools. He served as Vice President of the Architects League from 1928 to 1931, when he died at the age of 47.  Anton is remembered as an honest Architect, precise, meticulous, dedicated to his profession and respected. He loved architecture.  Upon his death in 1931 his will stipulated that a bequest be made to the League, to be held in trust, and that the annual interest income from the trust account would be used to make an award to the member who had distinguished themselves in the preceding year in the profession, or who, because of their achievements or accomplishments, would be deserving of the award. Over the years the award has come to represent recognition of service to the League, and is considered the League’s highest honor.  Mr. Vegliante’s strive for excellence remains our inspiration in the years since his passing. Click here for a historical listing of Vegliante Award Recipients and Past Presidents.

TRIVIA TIME:  Which President’s son was a prominent figure in 1960s counter-culture?  Answer:  Hugh N. Romney, 1975 President.  His son, also named Hugh, is better known to the world as entertainer Wavy Gravy.

The History of ALNNJ Scholarships

The Architects League awarded its first academic scholarship on May 19, 1955 to Miss Joan de Ris of Englewood, a student at Columbia University School of Architecture.  Click here to see the photo.   Since that time, the League has developed a scholarship program that includes:

• The Clarence Tabor Memorial Scholarship Award
• The Albert O. Halse Memorial Award
• The Architects League Scholastic Achievement Award
• The Architects League Scholarship for High School Seniors

Clarence Tabor (1891-1966) was a Charter Member of the League, served as President in 1930 & 1931, and was recipient of the Vegliante Award in 1934. Born in Chicago, Tabor designed many homes throughout the New York metropolitan area, and maintained an office at 45 Broad Street in Ridgewood. He designed the Glen Rock Municipal Building and drew plans for the original Glen Rock Bank and All Saints Church. The Clarence Tabor Memorial Scholarship Award is given to undergraduate students entering their fifth and final year of their undergraduate architectural program, and is based on scholastic excellence, attitude toward the profession, probable success as an architect, and need for financial assistance.

Albert O. Halse (1910-1978) of Hackensack, was President of the League in 1965, and was a professor of architecture at Columbia University. Halse published several books, including The Use of Color in Interiors and Architectural Rendering: The Techniques of Contemporary Presentation. The Albert O. Halse Memorial Award is given to undergraduate students for excellence in architectural delineation and/or architectural models. In 1988 a bequest from the estate of Helen Ahnemann Halse was made to the League to continue the award as a memorial scholarship.

Legacy Tours and Events

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Installation in 1967 of (L-R) Bernard DiPaola, President; Henry Johnson, 1st V.P.; Benjamin Bailyn, 2nd V.P.; Bernard Hersh, Treasurer; Peter Holley, Corresponding Secretary; and Leonard Levine, Recording Secretary.

In addition to our Memorial Scholarships, the Architects League has legacy programs to honor some of our members who have passed.

Ted Kessler, AIA was a longtime Architects League member who is remembered for his generosity to the profession. He was well known for leading architectural students and others on walking tours throughout Manhattan. The Ted Kessler Walking Tour, led by Joe David, AIA, remains a tribute to Kessler’s memory and legacy. It is an annual event for members and guests of the Architects League of Northern New Jersey, with new tours premiering in the fall and then repeating the following spring.

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Arthur L. Davis

Each November, the League honors the memory of Arthur Lewis Davis, AIA through the Arthur L. Davis Lecture Series. The series features a speaker of notable importance in the profession and/or a lecture on a topic of notable architectural importance. Mr. Davis joined the Architects League in 1970. He served the League as Treasurer, Vice President, and in 1985 as President. Arthur was the recipient of the Vegliante Award– the League’s highest honor – in 1997. He was a man of great humor and a great lover of all things cultural. Following Arthur’s passing in 2000, his wife Lenore, until her death in 2012, provided annual donations to the League to support the lecture series. Since that time, the League has honored the Davis legacy by continuing this event.

To get a greater glimpse of our history and see more from our archives, please view the Leagueline issue dedicated to the history of the ALNNJ by clicking here.