It’s a bit pricey, but it’s a prestigious property, a Long Beach Historic Landmark (with an official marker) and it is a historic Mills Act property, which provides its owner with valuable tax benefits.
The listing agent for the property is Cameron Jacques, President and Owner of Kinnery Brokerage.
The building’s asymmetrical design is a key part of its architecture and one of the reasons its two units are not identical, despite both being approximately 1,650 square feet each.
Unit # 1 has three large bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large living room, a kitchen and a dining room. Unit # 2 has two large bedrooms and two bathrooms. There is an additional small “bachelor” apartment on the lower level of approximately 200 square feet and has a bathroom, but no kitchen. It could serve as an office or, in these days when housing is becoming increasingly scarce, rental, specifies Jacques.
The name “Esser House” begs the question: who is Esser? William J. Esser was the builder of the duplex in 1929, and its historical marker, awarded by the Long Beach Cultural Heritage Commission in 2000, perhaps too enthusiastically states that Esser was “a successful builder of Long Beach. whose work included the now demolished but famous Coastal Pacific Club.
The architects of the Pacific Coast Club, located at 850 Ocean Blvd., east of Alamitos Avenue, from its opening in 1926 until its demolition in 1988, were Claud Beelman and Aleck Curlett (who designed the Insurance Exchange Building, the Cooper arm, Bank of farmers and traders and several other notable buildings) and its construction was carried out by CT McGrew & Sons, another company with historic buildings to its credit, including the Los Cerritos adobe and many residences in the Los Cerritos neighborhood, including a house in 165 E. Roosevelt Road, which was built for Charles T. McGrew’s son, W. Milton McGrew.
Esser was a construction foreman for CT McGrew & Sons, an important job, of course, but you wouldn’t call the Pacific Coast Club a William Esser production.
Nonetheless, Esser did an excellent job in building his namesake house, in which he never lived; he built the duplex for Peter Coleman.
Both duplex units have been renovated, but historically remain true to the original design. The current owner, says Jacques, takes great pride in retaining the building’s history and architectural appeal.
Esser built the house for a period of time between the booming 1920s and the onset of the Great Depression. This is a Spanish Colonial Revival style, a style that was increasingly popular in the coastal areas of Long Beach at the time.
Some of its notable features include stucco walls, oak floors and pine trim, a terracotta Mission tiled roof, a balcony above the building’s three garages which have their original wooden doors, and their hammered wrought iron hinges.
After the house was completed, Esser left CT McGrew and started his own construction company, WJ Esser & Sons, whose plans include the construction in 1954 of the four buildings that made up Rancho esperanza, the Long Beach Honor Farm which was east of the San Gabriel River and south of Carson Street. This complex was near downtown today. The company also built a 50-bed wing of the community hospital in 1958.