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Male, Canada/US, born 1851-11-29, died 1943-09-22

Associated with the firms network

Reid Brothers, Architects; Reid, James William, Architect

Professional History


House Joiner, Harvey Bank, NB, 1871. The Canadian Census of 1871 noted that he worked as a house joiner like his father, William.

Draftsman, various Boston architectural offices, c. 1870s.

Designer, Charles Eppinghousen, Architect, Terre Haute, IN, 1875-c. 1878; (Eppinghousen [born c. 1840 in Germany] was a leading architect in southwestern IN at the time.) While in his office, James Reid assisted Eppinghausen on the designs of the McKeen Bank Building, Terre Haute, IN, and the James Hook School, Terre Haute, IN, both demolished.

Architect, Boyd and Brickley, Architects, Evansville, IN, c. 1878-1880; (James W. Reid took over the practice of Boyd and Brickley.)

Partner, Reid Brothers, Architects, Evansville, IN, 1880-1886; James acted as the lead designer within the firm that he started with his brother, Merritt J. Reid. James and Merritt, made solid business connections designing buildings for local bankers and the Evansville and Terre Haute Railroad in southwest Indiana.

Partner, Reid Brothers, Architects, Evansville, IN, and San Diego, CA, 1886-1891; James came to California in 12/1886 to design the mammoth Hotel del Coronado, Coronado, CA, for a group of five Indiana investors who made up the Coronado Beach Company; he and younger brother Watson E. Reid (1857-1943) worked on the huge commission for the Coronado Hotel in San Diego, while Merritt Reid remained in Evansville. Merritt did not come West until c. 1891, when he sold the IN office to Evansville architect Frank J Schlotter (1861-1938). He was listed in the San Francisco City Directory, 1891, (p. 1156), as working with the Reid Brothers firm in Room #85 of the Flood Building. Between 1889-1891, James shifted the main office to San Francisco, CA.

Merritt opened a temporary Reid Brothers office in Portland, OR, while he supervised construction of The Oregonian Newspaper Building there.

Partner, Reid Brothers, San Francisco, CA, and San Diego, CA, 1889-1932; (The San Diego office closed when Watson Reid left the city in 1899 to return to Canada.) In 1889, James and Merritt Reid had an office at 310 Pine Street in San Francisco. In that year, the San Francisco newspaper the Daily Alta California wrote of them as significant newcomers to the architectural profession: "It is always a pleasure to extend a hearty welcome to San Francisco to honorable and enterprising men of any trade or profession. The gentlemen whose firm name head this article have been in this city but a very short time, consequently they are not closely identified with her architectural development, nevertheless they are worthy of mention in this issue because of the enviable reputation they bring with them from Chicago and San Diego, in both of which places they did much work which reflects great credit upon their ability. In the latter place the famous Coronado Hotel is a monument to their architectural ability. We predict for them a successful career in San Francisco." (See "Reid Bros., 310 Pine Street," Daily Alta California, 07/07/1889. p. 9.) In 1900, the Reid Brothers had an office in the Spreckels (San Francisco Call) Building. (See San Francisco, California, City Directory, 1900, p. 1879.)

After his retirement from practice in San Francisco in 1932, James W. Reid designed governmental offices in the UK and New Zealand.

Professional Activities

James Reid served as a Trustee of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), San Francisco Chapter, in 1914-1915. (See "With the Architects and Engineers," Architect and Engineer of California, vol. XXXVIII, no. 2, 09/1914, p. 114. and "With the Architects and Engineers," Architect and Engineer of California, vol. LXI, no. 1, 04/1915, p. 106.)

Professional Awards

Fellow, American Institute of Architects (FAIA), 1889.


At approximately age 16, James W. Reid began study of industrial arts at the Lowell School of Practical Design, Boston, MA; he also attended McGill University, Montreal, Canada; coureswork, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, c. 1873; coursework, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France, c. 1874; it is not clear if James W. Reid graduated from any institution.



James W. Reid was most likely born in the vicinity of Harvey Bank, NB, Canada. Richard Ellison Ritz, Architects of Oregon, (Portland, OR: Lair Hill Publishing, 2003), p. 330, indicated that James W. Reid was born 11/25/1851, while the California Death Index indicated it to have been 11/29/1852.

The San Francisco City Directory, 1891, indicated that James Reid lived in the Palace Hotel. (See San Francisco City Directory, 1891, p 1156.)

James W. Reid died in San Francisco, CA, at the age of 90.


His parents were William J. Reid and Lucinda Robinson. According to the Canadian Census of 1861, William worked as a farmer, while that of 1871 indicated that he was a house joiner. Lucinda managed the household that contained eight children. Their offspring included Anna B. Reid, (born c. 1845 in NB), Mary E. Reid (born c. 1847 in NB), Josephine L. Reid (born c. 1848 in NB), Orpha A. Reid (born c. 1850 in NB), James W. Reid (born c. 1853 in NB), Merritt (born c. 1855 in NB), and Charlotte (born c. 1859 in NB).

Biographical Notes

The Canadian Censuses indicated that the Reid Family belonged to the Baptist Closed Communiion Church.

Associated Locations

  • San Francisco, CA (Architect's Death)
    San Francisco, CA

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  • Saint John, NB Canada (Architect's Birth)
    Saint John, NB Canada

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    New Brunswick;

PCAD id: 594

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