John Henderson, Al Macy and Melvin Cole
John D. Henderson, FAIA (1933-)
Long before John D. Henderson earned his FAIA, he was just a young Illinois kid playing with blocks and erector sets given to him by relatives, as well as pens, pencils and paper from his architect-father’s office. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, he would spend the bulk of his youth growing up in Sprinfield, Illinois before obtaining his degree in architecture from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbanna.
John joined the US Navy Civil Engineer Corps in 1956. His tour included the Public Works Center, Guam, Marianas Islands before arriving in San Diego (in 1957) to work for the ROICC at NAS Miramar Naval Air Station. The task at hand was to turn NAS Miramar into a Master Jet Station. “We built everything in the two years that I was out there -- extended runways, built hangers, BEQ's, BOQs, Neutra's Chapel, and a mess of other stuff while getting to know many of the local architects and contractors,” John recently recalled. While in the U.S. Navy Reserves (between 1959-64) John served in the Mobile Construction Battalion MCB-17 here in San Diego.
Following his government service, he opened up his own firm - John D. Henderson, AIA (ca. 1964-68), then he joined Homer Delawie and Al Macy to run Delawie, Macy & Henderson, AIA (ca. 1968-76). Following his work with Delawie, John and Al left the Old Town office to form Macy, Henderson & Cole, AIA (between 1977-85). The latter years of a fantastic career would see him return to John D. Henderson, FAIA (1986 – 2009). In 1980 John Henderson was elected to the AIA’s College of Fellows.
Al Macy (1928-2014)
Alfonso Macy, the only son of Damicella and Joseph Macyauskas, was born on February 1, 1928 in Cleveland, Ohio. Al attended east Technical High School in Cleveland before receiving an architecture scholarship to Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon) in Pittsburgh through a colored pencil company. He entered Carnegie Tech at age 17 in 1945 and found himself enveloped in WW2 veterans taking advantage of the GI Bill. He completed one year at Carnegie then enlisted in the Army. After basic training, he was enroute to Korea when his ship had mechanical problems and was returned to San Francisco. Here he was offered the choice to await the next ship to Korea or to return to Baltimore to join the Counter Intelligence Corp. There his ability to draw was recognized and he began producing all manner of training documents. After completing his service, he returned to Carnegie and graduated in 1952.
Summers during his college years were spent working at the firm Carr & Cunningham in Cleveland where he continued upon graduation. He, and fiancé Lillian, designed and built their first home in nearby Sheffield Lake, Ohio in 1953. Following a cursory study of the US relative to weather and a probably openness to new ways, Al and Lillian sold their home and moved to San Diego in January 1955.
Al took the first job he was offered, with a traditional architect specializing in schools. Shortly thereafter he worked with Selden Kennedy, Dick Lareau and Sam Hamill. In 1959 he accepted a job designing homes on ‘difficult’ lots because the pay went from $3.00 to $5.00 an hour as the family was growing. By 1960, Al was working with Lloyd Ruocco where he became friends with Homer Delawie.
When Homer decided to leave Ruocco in July 1961 he asked Al to join him. Together, Delawie and Macy bought property and designed their new office on Chestnut Street in Old Town. Following continued growth, in 1968 the firm became Delawie, Macy and Henderson. In 1977, after 16 years with Homer, Al launched Macy, Henderson and Cole AIA with John Henderson and Melvin Cole.
Partial List of Projects
AVCO Office Building (1971)
Barracks Complex- Phase I & II (1968 &1969)
Burnham House Rehabilitation (built ca. 1907) (1976)
Church of the Resurrection (1973)
Edwards Residence (1974)
Henderson Residence (1968)
Holy Angels Bytantine Catholic Church (1979)
La Jolla Recreation Center
La Playa Dock
(Not Built) (1969)
Long-Waterman House Adaptive Reuse (built ca. 1889) (1977)
Marshall Apartments (1967)
Miramar Ranch Elementary School (1976)
Nelson Residence (1973)
Old Scripps Laboratory Rehabilitation (built ca. 1903) (1981-84)
Old U.S. Courthouse - INS Rehabilitation (built ca. 1913) (Not Built)
Old Town State Historic Park Master Development Plan (1974)
Plaza de Balboa + Fountain, (1972)
Point La Playa Condominiums (1975)
Presidio Park Dedication Monument (1966)
Rancho Bernardo Community Church (1978)
Plaza de Panama/El Prado Redevelopment (DMH, 1976)
Rancho Bernardo Post Office (1975)
San Diego City College Remodel & Additions (1976)
San Diego State University Parking Structure (1975)
San Diego Trust & Savings Rehabilitation ( built ca. 1927) (1999)
Santa Fe Depot Relocation/Rehabilitation (built ca. 1887) (1974)
Spreckels Theater Building Rehabilitation (built ca. 1912) (1978-1985)
State Compensation Insurance Fund (1970)
St. Catherine Laboure (1966)
Tifereth Israel Synagogue (1979)
University Hospital Parking Structure (1974)
US International University - Music & Fine Arts Complex (1968)
Wegeforth House/Junior League of San Diego Rehabilitation (built ca.
Whelan Residence (1974)
World Trade Center (Not Built) (1970)
Zoo Bus Depot (1970)