HOUSTON – Long before 1941, high-rise buildings in Houston were not built with any cooling systems. As technology advanced, developers began adding central air to existing buildings.
Nearly 80 years ago, one high-rise structure made Houston history by becoming the first large building to be built with central air-conditioning. On February 25, 1941, The Mellie Esperson Building opened its door to the public.
This nineteen-story building was named after Mellie Keenan Esperson, a businesswoman and developer from Kansas. It was an adjoining structure to the thirty-two story Niels Esperson Building, named after Esperson’s husband.
According to Cameron Management, Mrs. Esperson asked architect John Ebserson to build this structure on the right of Mr. Esperson’s building, as she always to him.
Today in 1941, the 19-story Mellie Esperson Building opens Downtown. pic.twitter.com/tB30x0EqhF— Houstorian (@Houstorian) February 25, 2015
It’s believed that it was the largest office building in Houston to be constructed during the Great Depression.
The companion building was connected to the Neils Esperson Building on all but two floors.
Today this historic structure provides offices for banks, oil companies and other professional interests.