From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Tandy, Vertner W., Sr.

(born: May 17, 1885  -  died: Novmeber 7, 1949) 

Born in Lexington, KY, Vertner W. Tandy was the first African American to be licensed as an architect in the state of New York, becoming well-known throughout the U.S. One of his local works was Webster Hall on Georgetown St. in Lexington. In New York, he was a designer on the Abraham Lincoln Houses and the housing projects on Lexington Avenue and 135th Streets. His works also include the St. Philip's Protestant Episcopal Church on W. 133rd Street.

Tandy was also the first African American to be commissioned as an officer in New York during World War I. He was a 1904 graduate of Tuskegee Institute [now Tuskegee University], and a 1908 graduate of Cornell University School of Architecture. He helped found the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity at Cornell.

Vertner Tandy was the son of Henry A. Tandy and Emma E. Brice Tandy, both Kentucky natives; and the husband of Sadie Tandy born 1890 in Alabama. In 2009, a Kentucky historical marker was placed in the location where the Tandy home had stood in Lexington.  

For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1933-37; Biographical Dictionary of American Architects, Deceased, by H. F. and E. R. Withey; "Vertner W. Tandy," The New York Times, 11/8/1949, p. 31; and M. Davis, "Fraternity puts its founder on map," Lexington Herald Leader, 9/15/2009, City/Region section, p. 1.

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Read about Fayette County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

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Read about Lexington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Tandy, Vertner W., Sr.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 22, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-01-06 14:59:57