Alexander, Robert E.
Antelline, Jon P.
Benedict, Hiram Hudson
Brownell, J. Herbert
Straub and Hensman
Cody, William F.
Davis, Ronald K.
Des Lauriers, Robert
Kenneth & Robert
Harris, Harwell Hamilton
Jones, A. Quincy
Jones, Robert E.
Kellogg, Kendrick Bangs
Killingsworth, Brady & Smith
Mosher & Drew
Palmer & Krisel
Paul & Allard
Periera & Luckman
Richards, Sim Bruce
Simpson and Gerber
Skidmore, Owings and Merrill
Spencer & Lee
Stone, Edward Durrell
Tucker, Sadler & Bennett
Weston, Eugene III
Wright, Frank Lloyd
Wright, John Lloyd
He was born
in Brenham, Texas on October 18, 1899. The Kesling family moved
to Calexico, California in 1916. In 1920, William moved to L.A.
where he worked his way up from carpenter's helper to carpenter
boss. In 1923 he began contracting carpenter labor, then branched
out into general contracting. In 1926 he married Ehrma Williams.
H was building at the height of the Great Depression, yet he
testified in 1936 that he somehow managed to erect: "over
450 homes, stores, and apartments in L.A. and the vicinity. While
I have never made a fortune, I have made a fair living."
1964 resume states that he was Schindler's draughtsman, around
1928. Kesling opened up his own office, Kesling Modern Structures,
and built his "first Modern House... at Easterly Terrace in
Silver Lake in 1935. Kesling showed his model house to prospective
customers, selling future houses on speculation.
1935 and 1937 when he was indicted for fraud, Kesling constructed
15 houses and duplexes in the Silver Lake hills. A dozen others
sprouted up in West Hollywood, advertised as "scintillating
Shulman, who has photographed both Schindler and Kesling houses,
believes that: "Kesling has become important historically
because he marked the transition from Art Deco Streamline Moderne
to Schindler's modern style." Schindler and Kesling had one
thing in common. Their work was not taken seriously at first by
the architectural establishment because they acted as their own
contractors. This was not the conventional road for professional
housing for the Navy during the war, after which he resurfaced
in La Jolla, the upscale resort town near San Diego. Streamline
Moderne was a thing of the past, but he moved with the market.
His late '40s designs were conservative wood and brick houses
with trellises and patios; one was photographed by Shulman for
Life. Kesling's comet had burned out; a row of beach houses gained
the pejorative nickname "Kesling's Kozy Kowsheds... Kesling's
1964 resume, which made no mention of his arrest and probation,
stated that he had built 3,000 houses in his 30-year career.
William P. Kesling died in San Diego in 1983, a victim of Alzheimer's
Kesling, Rogue Architect of Streamline Moderne" by Ginger
Moro in Echoes, Fall 1999.
List of San Diego Projects
Borrego Springs Desert Club (1949)
401 Tilting T Drive Borrego Springs
Hugh Woods Market
Circle, Borrego Springs
1890 Spindrift, La Jolla
Published in Life Magazine, November 3, 1947, photographs by Julius Shulman
639 Rosemont, La Jolla
7972 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla
6261 Dowling Drive, La Jolla
List of Kesling Projects By Year
Residence (La Jolla)
1942: 100 prefabricated detached dwellings at the intersection
of Market & 46th
Streets (East San Diego)
1946: Gamson House, Ingall House, King House, and Everett House (La
1946-1947: Dowling Drive Spec Homes (12 detached dwellings) (La Jolla)
1947-1948: McConnell Residence (La Jolla), 721 Genter Street (La
Jolla), 7972 La Jolla Shores Drove (La Jolla), 4304 Narragansett Avenue (Pt.
Loma), 4303 Narragansett Avenue (Pt. Loma), 4320 Niagara Avenue (Pt. Loma),
Lot 12 Block 69 Pt. Loma Heights (Pt. Loma), Lots 27-28, Block 16 Bird Rock
City by the Sea (La Jolla), Lots 28-32 Block 8 La Jolla Park (La Jolla),
Lot B, F T Scripps Add to La Jolla Park (La Jolla), Block 1 La Jolla Park
(La Jolla), Lot 6, Block 25 La Jolla Hermosa Unit No. 2 (La Jolla); Lots
5, 8, 10 & 18 Block 34 La Jolla
Hermosa Unit No. 2 (La Jolla); Lot 1 Block 40 La Jolla Hermosa Unit No. 2 (La
Jolla); Lots 2-3, 5-6 & 9-10 Block 41 La Jolla Hermosa Unit No.
2 (La Jolla); and Lot 9 Block 15 La Jolla Shores Unit No. 1 (La Jolla).
1948: 8499 La Jolla Shores Drive (La Jolla), 5943 Folsom Drive
(La Jolla), 639 Rosemont Street (La Jolla), Lot 2 Block 20 of La Jolla Shores
Unit No. 3 (La Jolla).
1951-1952: Kesling plotted the Cliffside Subdivision from
Blocks 16, 17, and 18 of the 1908 Bird Rock Subdivision. Identified Kesling built
homes in the Cliffside Tract are 5511 Calumet Avenue and 5559 Calumet Avenue,
and potentially 5576 Chelsea Avenue (also the house at Chelsea & Midway
(in Table 1 attached) is a Kesling within the Cliffside boundaries).
The Borrego Springs
Desert Club (1949)