Vertner Woodson Tandy was born in Lexington in 1885. He was the son of Henry A. Tandy, a respected African American mason whose firm contracted to do the brickwork for the Lexington Courthouse, among other prominent buildings. Vertner Tandy attended the Chandler School, Tuskegee Institute, and Cornell University. While attending Cornell, Tandy was a founding member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the oldest African American fraternity.
After graduating in 1908, Tandy launched a successful career in architecture. He became the 1st registered black architect in New York State, where he built landmark homes and buildings. These buildings included structures like the St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Manhattan and Madame C.J. Walker's mansion Villa Lewaro during the Harlem Renaissance. He also broke a professional color barrier when he became the first black man to be inducted into the American Institute of Architects. Tandy died in New York in 1949.
The historical marker at 642 West Main Street was dedicated in 2009 and sponsored by the Alpha Beta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.