Esperson Buildings in Houston

Photo of Esperson Buildings in Houston, Texas
Photograph Wayne Lorentz
Photo of Esperson Buildings in Houston, Texas
Photograph Wayne Lorentz
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Photo of Esperson Buildings in Houston, Texas
Photograph Wayne Lorentz
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Esperson Buildings

808 Travis Street, Houston, Texas, Downtown 77002
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Once, this was the crown jewel of Houston's skyline, and today is the only full-blown example of Italian Renaissance architecture in the downtown. It is wonderfully detailed with columns, great urns, terraces, and a grand tempietto at the top similar to one built in 1502 in the courtyard of San Pietro in Rome. It is lit up at night. Because of its history, this structure is properly referred to in the plural. Mellie Esperson had the building constructed for her husband, Niels, a Texas real estate and oil tycoon. His name is carved on the side of the building in large letters at street level. The name "Mellie Esperson" is carved on her accompanying structure, known as the Mellie Esperson building. It is really just a 19-story annex to the originally building, and the reason the two are termed collectively. The Esperson buildings have the curious habit of popping up when you least expect it in the city's skyline. Because of its central location and lack of any taller next-door neighbors, this architectural ghost of the Espersons is able to haunt millions of people daily from its lofty perch.

Quick Facts
Notes
    > December, 2004 - The Houston Chronicle reports that the Esperson Buildings have been sold for $48,000,000.00.
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    >The ghost of Mellie Esperson is said to roam the "Mellie" building. The elevator malfunctions and employees say they feel "watched."
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