Esty attended Framingham Academy as a boy. He then trained in architecture with Boston architect Richard Bond (architect).
He found employment as draftsman with Gridley Bryant, then a leading architect in the city. Returning to Framingham a few years later, the young man decided to open an office for himself, and in the following years Mr. Estey designed, with equal success, various types of buildings, such as churches, schools, college buildings, business structures and private homes, and was soon engaged in work which extended throughout Massachusetts, in other parts of New England and to cities farther west. Among his most noted buildings should be named the following: Emanuel Church on Newbury Street, Boston, designed in the
Gothic, 1861; Methodist Church at Burlington, Vt., 1861; Church of Our Saviour, Long wood (Brookline) Mass., 1866; Grace Church at Newton, Mass., 1869; Monks Building, 35 Congress Street, Boston, 1873; Harvard Church, Cambridge, Mass., a Gothic structure, built 1877; Union Congregational Church on Columbus Avenue, Boston, 1877; Baptist Theological School, Boston; Boston & Albany Depot, Boston, (1881), still standng though used for a different purpose; State Normal Schools in Framingham and Worcester Mass.; Buildings at Colby University, Maine; University of Vermont at Burlington; the University of Rochester, N.Y., and in addition eight or more smaller churches, some of them extant, as well as several residences in Fram-ingham.
In 1867 he was appointed by Governor Bullock of Massachusetts to a joint Committee to report upon the remodelling or re-building of the Boston State House. The report, however, with plans of suggested changes and estimates was not adopted, due to the cost of the project.
In 1880 Mr. Estey, together with architects Edward Clark and J. L. Smithmeyer of Washington, were appointed by a Congressional Committee to report on the expediency of extending the U. S. Capitol to provide additional quarters for a Congressional Library. When the committee reported adversely on the proposal, they were requested to make plans for a separate building. Mr. Estey, having submitted a design for the interior, was asked to collaborate with Smithmeyer on the exterior, but declined. Subsequently Smithmeyer & Pelz were appointed architect of the new (the present) Congressional Library, but upon the completion of the structure, it appeared that Mr. Estey’s original plan, without any radical change, was appropriated.