James W. Reid and Merritt J. Reid, Canadians by birth, came to the west coast via Illinois late in the nineteenth century and became two of the most prominent architects in San Francisco. A younger brother, Watson Elkinah Reid, also worked for James and Merritt's architectural and engineering firm of Reid & Reid for a short time.
In the "City Beautiful" period, their firm created a number of San Francisco and Bay Area landmarks: the Fairmont Hotel, the Call/Spreckels building, the Geneva Car Barn Office Building, the First Congregational Church (1913, San Francisco Landmark #177), and Oakland's Grand Lake Theatre (1926). In San Diego, they designed the magnificent Hotel del Coronado (1888).
Some notable Reid Brothers structures in the western neighborhoods include the Marshall Hale House at 26 Presidio Terrace (1909), the Cliff House (1909), the Coliseum Theatre (1918), the Alexandria Theatre (1923), the Balboa Theatre (1925), the Caretaker's Cottage in Golden Gate Park beside the Murphy windmill, and the Music Stand, also in Golden Gate Park.
One interesting Reid-designed structure planned for, but never built in Golden Gate Park was the Stadium at the Polo Fields. Planned as "the largest stadium in the world," the Park Commission put up $5,000 to begin the enormous athletic forum in 1908. The plan was dropped and only a small stand of concrete bleachers on the north side were constructed. Golden Gate Park was spared from a huge concrete sports stadium until Kezar Stadium was built in the 1920s.
Merritt Reid died February 2, 1932, and James on July 6, 1943.
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