Lewis H. Esler was for many years employed by the City of Philadelphia as Superintendent of Public School Buildings and Repairs. He first appears in city directories in 1843 as a carpenter at the same address as George Esler, Sr., also a carpenter and probably his father. Through 1864 he lists himself as following that trade. Between 1865 and 1868 Esler styles himself a merchant, but about 1869 he was hired by the City of Philadelphia Board of Education as inspector and superintendent of construction for public schools, a position he held for the rest of his life.
Esler is listed as the architect for many Philadelphia schools erected in the 1870s and 1880s, although it is unclear whether he actually designed the structures erected under his supervision; and he is known to have employed such architects as James C. Sidney. From 1870 he listed himself as an architect with offices on South Sixth Street, one of a number of architects who located in or near The Athenaeum building during the period when the AIA and the Board of Education maintained offices in that building.
Roger W. Moss.
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