In 1939 architects who were already practicing in Reno and Las Vegas formed the Nevada State Association of Architects. This group recognized the growing need for a regulatory body and their sole stated purpose was "establishing laws to protect the profession and raise the standard of architecture in Nevada.”
The NSAA worked diligently for ten years to set in place a state architectural registration law and to establish a regulatory body. They enlisted the help of the AIA and NCARB to support their efforts and they even ran newspaper ads in order to increase public awareness and support for their effort across the state. Finally, in 1949 after many failed attempts in Carson City, and thanks to the persistent labors of the architects and the full-time lobbying efforts of an architect named Graham Erskine, AB70, "An Act To Regulate The Practice Of Architecture In Nevada” was passed and the Nevada State Board of Architecture was established.
Governor Pittman appointed the first state board members, all of whom were architects and included Leman Ferris, Russell Mills and Edward Parsons (all from Reno) and Aloysius McDonald and Walter Zick from Las Vegas. They held their first meeting on July 31, 1949, where they elected officers, determined the criteria for licensure and set about issuing license to architects. The following is a list of the first 29 architects who held the first licenses in the state.
With the Nevada State Board of Architecture in place and their mission accomplished the NSAA faded out of existence and the architects turned their attention to formally establishing the American Institute of Architects in Nevada. In 1949 former members of the NSAA group enlisted the help of AIA members from other states and petitioned the national AIA headquarters to Charter a Nevada chapter. The charter was granted immediately and the Nevada Chapter AIA was born.
With only five AIA members the first chapter lunch meeting was held at the Riverside Hotel Casino in Reno and each was assigned to an officer position. They then adopted the unofficial name of "Nevada AIA - The All Saints”. Within a few months Harris Sharp and Walter Zick and other AIA members from Las Vegas joined the Nevada Chapter. To accommodate the distance between the two cities the sporadic member meetings were held half way between the two cities in Tonopah. This soon proved to be too much of a geographic challenge, and by 1954 the Nevada AIA became the AIA Reno Chapter, and the architects in Las Vegas requested a Charter from the Institute to establish the AIA Las Vegas Chapter.