University of North Alabama, Florence, AL
Leon Henry Zach
1895 - 1966

Leon Zach

The son of a respected Austrian violist and conductor, Zach was born in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts and graduated from Roxbury Latin School. He entered Harvard College in 1914, but left in 1918 to serve in the First World War. A stint in Richelieu, France exposed Zach to the landscaped gardens of nearby chateaux, and he returned to Harvard in 1919 to study in the School of Landscape Architecture. After a European tour in 1921, Zach found employment with Olmsted Brothers, where he stayed for over twenty years. Zach was a competent artist, but his real talent lay in project administration. Zach supervised numerous simultaneous projects funded by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., including the Fort Tryon, Cloisters, and Claremont Park constructions in New York, and for several components in the Rockefeller-funded Acadia National Park in Maine. He also supervised numerous simultaneous projects for the Bok family in various locales, and in the 1920s and 1930s throughout Alabama for parks, educational institutions, and the state capitol at Montgomery.  Zach was made a partner of Olmsted Brothers in 1938. In 1941, he was offered the chance to set up the Site Planning Unit in the Construction Division of the Quartermaster General’s Office in Washington, D.C. Finding the planning of military cantonments, internment camps, and hospitals of great interest, he never returned to Olmsted Brothers. Zach retired in 1965 as Chief of the Planning Branch, Engineering Division of the U.S. Army. He died in 1966.