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Male, Canada/US, born 1855-01-20, died 1932-01-04

Associated with the firm network

Reid Brothers, Architects

Professional History


Partner, Reid Brothers, Architects, Evansville, IN, 1880-1886; (Merritt's elder brother, James W. Reid [1851-1943], acted as the lead designer within the firm that he started with his brother, Merritt J. Reid.) Partner, Reid Brothers, Architects, Evansville, IN, and San Diego, CA, 1886-1899; (James came to California in 12/1886 to design the mammoth Hotel del Coronado, Coronado, CA, for a group of five 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]. Merritt opened a temporary Reid Brothers office in Portland, OR, while he supervised construction of the Oregonian Newspaper Building there. Between 1889-1891, James shifted the main office to San Francisco, CA.)

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.)

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



Born in Harvey, Albert County, NB, Canada, Merritt J. Reid resided with his family in that small town in 1871, when the Canadian Census was done.

Reid immigrated to the US in 06/1874 from Saint John.

According to his US Passport Application of 1903, Reid stated that: "He lived for 29 years uninterruptedly, in the United States, from 1874 to 1903 at San Francisco; that I was naturalized as a citizen of the United States before the Superior Court of Vanderburgh County at Evansville, Ind. on the 31st day of March 1900, as a shown by the accompanying Certificate of Naturalization." (See, Source Citation, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, 1795-1905; Roll #: 631; Volume #: Roll 631 - 01 Jul 1903-08 Jul 1903, accessed 07/07/2016.) The first sentence was false, as Merritt Reid did not come West to settle permanently in San Francisco until c. 1891. He lived from about 1880 until 1891 in the State of IN.

In 1930, Reid lived at 1100 Union Street in a residence that he valued at $7,500. A widower by this time, he lived there alone, with no family or domestic servants. (See, Source Citation, Year: 1930; Census Place: San Francisco, San Francisco, California; Roll: 207; Page: 22A; Enumeration District: 0345; Image: 823.0; FHL microfilm: 2339942, accessed 07/07/2016.)


Merritt J. Reid's parents were William James and Lucinda Robinson Reid of Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. When the family resided in Harvey, NB, in 1871, there were nine people residing at home: William J. age 50 (a house joiner), Lucinda J., age 50, Anna B., age 26 (a seamstress), Josephine, age 23 (a school teacher), Orpah, age 20, James W., age 18 (a house joiner), Watson E., age 14, and Charlotte, age 12. (See, Source Citation, Year: 1871; Census Place: Harvey, Albert, New Brunswick; Roll: C-10394; Page: 7; Family No: 28, accessed 07/05/2016.)

The Reids were listed as "C.C. Baptists" in the 1871 Census of Canada, standing for Closed Communion Baptists.

Merritt's brothers James William Reid and Watson Elkinah Reid, were also architects. Merritt partnered with his brothers in the architectural firm of Reid Brothers in various cities between 1880-1932.


He married Anabelle Reid (born 11/20/1865 in Saratoga, NY).

Biographical Notes

According to his US Passport Application of 1903, at age 48, Reid stood 5-foot 4 3/4-inches tall, had a round face with a high forehead, brown eyes, medium mouth, round chin, ruddy complexion and gray hair.

Merritt Reid traveled abroad in 1909-1910 and 1921. During his earlier trip, Reid traveled through Europe, and the latter he went to Mexico to handle "mining business." He also noted on a US Passport Application of 1921, that he had made many trips back to Canada from the US between 1875 and 1921. (See, Source Citation National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925; Roll #: 1534; Volume #: Roll 1534 - Certificates: 6750-7125, 21 Mar 1921-22 Mar 1921, accessed 07/05/2016.)

Associated Locations

PCAD id: 595

1st Congregational Church #2, Union Square, San Francisco, CA1914San FranciscoCA
2646 Vallejo Street House, Pacific Heights, San Francisco, CA1917San FranciscoCA
Alexandria Theatre, San Francisco, CA1923San FranciscoCA
Amazon Theatre, Crocker-Amazon, San Francisco, CA1928San FranciscoCA
American Theatre #2, Mid-Market, San Francisco, CA 1906-1907San FranciscoCA
Avenue Theatre, Excelsior, San Francisco, CA1926-1927San FranciscoCA
Balboa Theatre #1, San Francisco, CA1922San FranciscoCA
Balboa Theatre #2, Outer Richmond, San Francisco, CA1925-1926San FranciscoCA
Bijou Theatre, San Francisco, CA1896San FranciscoCA
Breeden, Henry Clay, House, San Francisco, CA1894San FranciscoCA
Bullock and Jones Building #2, Union Square, San Francisco, CA1923San FranciscoCA
California-Pacific Building, San Francisco, CA1910San FranciscoWA
City and County Of San Francisco, Recreation and Parks Department, Golden Gate Park Stadium, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco CA1906San FranciscoCA
City and County of San Francisco, Recreation and Parks Department, Golden Gate Park, Spreckels Temple of Music, Music Concourse, San Francisco, CA1899-1900San FranciscoCA
City of San Rafael, Public Library, Carnegie Library, San Rafael, CA1908-1909San RafaelCA
Cliff House Restaurant #3, Sea Cliff, San Francisco, CA1908-1909San FranciscoCA
Cloud, Aaron G., House, McLeansboro, IL1882-1884McLeansboroIL
Co-Op Apartment Building, San Francisco, CA1927San FranciscoCA
Coliseum Theatre #2, Richmond District, San Francisco, CA1918San FranciscoCA
Colombo Building, Financial District, San Francisco, CA1913San FranciscoCA
Colonial Theatre, San Francisco, CA 1905San FranciscoCA
Cunningham Building, South of Market, San Francisco, CA1907San FranciscoCA
Douglas Building, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA1897-1898Los AngelesCA
Drexler Estate Building, Tenderloin, San Francisco, CA1907-1908San FranciscoCA
Drexler and Preston Estates Building, Financial District, San Francisco, CA1910San FranciscoCA
El Camino Theatre, San Rafael, CASan RafaelCA
Fairfax Theatre and Office/Retail Building, Fairfax, Oakland, CA1925-1926OaklandCA
Fairmont Hotel, Nob Hill, San Francisco, CA1902-1907San FranciscoCA
Fitzhugh Building #2, San Francisco, CA1923San FranciscoCA
Geneva Car Barn, San Francisco, CA1901San FranciscoCA
Grand Lake Theatre, Grand Lake, Oakland, CA1925-1926OaklandCA
Hale Brothers Department Store #2, South of Market, San Francisco, CA1912San FranciscoCA
Hale Brothers Dry Goods Store #1, San Francisco, CA 1902San FranciscoCA
Hale House, San Francisco, CA1910San FranciscoCA
Harding Theatre, Western Addition, San Francisco, CA1926San FranciscoCA
Hewes, David, Building, South of Market, San Francisco, CA1907-1908San FranciscoCA
Irwin, William G., House, San Francisco, CA 1900-1901San FranciscoCA
Keating, George and Fannie, House #2, Bankers Hill, San Diego, CA San DiegoCA
Masonic Building, Theatre, Gilroy, CA1920GilroyCA
McKeon and Saul Theatre, Martinez, CA1920MartinezCA
Merced Theatre #2, Merced, CA1930-1931MercedCA
Merritt Building, South Beach, San Francisco, CA1904San FranciscoCA
Merritt, Hulett C., Sr., Building, Los Angeles, CA1914-1915Los AngelesCA
Metropolitan Theatre #3, Cow Hollow, San Francisco, CA1923-1924San FranciscoCA
Mills, Darius Ogden, Building, Financial District, San Francisco, CA1890-1891San FranciscoCA
Mission Theatre #2, Mission District, San Francisco, CA1915-1916San FranciscoCA
New Santa Cruz Theatre, Downtown, Santa Cruz, CA1919-1920Santa CruzCA
Nisbet, Watkins F., House, Evansville, IN1878-1879EvansvilleIN
Oaks Theatre, North Berkeley, Berkeley, CA1924-1925BerkeleyCA
Oregon Journal Building, Portland, ORPortlandOR
Oregonian Building #2, Downtown, Portland, OR1891PortlandOR
Orpheus Theatre, Downtown, San Rafael, CA 1919-1920San RafaelCA
Pacific Union Club, Reid Brothers Club House Design Competition Project, Nob Hill, San Francisco, CA1908San FranciscoCA
People's National Bank of McLeansboro, Headquarters Building, McLeansboro, IL1880-1881McLeansboroIL
Perez, Lorenzo M., Building, San Francisco, CA1896San FranciscoCA
Reid, Merritt J., House, San Francisco, CA 1907San FranciscoCA
Riviera Theatre, Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco, CA1927San FranciscoCA
Roosevelt Theatre, Mission District, San Francisco, CA1924San FranciscoCA
Rowell and Foley Theatre, Fresno, CA1920FresnoCA
Royal Theatre, Nob Hill, San Francisco, CA 1916San FranciscoCA
Saint Albans Apartments, San Francisco, CASan FranciscoCA
San Francisco Call Building #2, South of Market, San Francisco, CA1898San FranciscoCA
San Francisco Call-Post Building, South of Market, San Francisco, CA1914San FranciscoCA
Selfridge, Edward A. and Minnie L., Houses, Pacific Heights, San Francisco, CA1894San FranciscoCA
Sequoia Theatre, Mill Valley, CA1929Mill ValleyCA
Sherman, Leander S., House, San Francisco, CASan FranciscoCA
Spreckels, Claus, House #2, San Francisco, CA 1895-1897San FranciscoCA
Spreckels, Emma, Building, San Francisco, CA 1895San FranciscoCA
Spreckels, John Diedrich, Sr., House #2, San Francisco, CA1899San FranciscoCA
Spreckels, John Diedrich, Sr., House #3, San Francisco, CA1904-1905San FranciscoCA
Sterling Building, San Francisco, CA1907San FranciscoCA
Sutro, Adolph, House, Stable, San Francisco, CASan FranciscoCA
Taraval Street and 29th Avenue Theatre Project, San Francisco, CA1927San FranciscoCA
Theatre Saint Francis, Tenderloin, San Francisco, CA1916San FranciscoCA
Weed, Merritt Herman, House, Pacific Heights, San Francisco, CA1896San FranciscoCA
West Coast Theaters, Incorporated, Grand Lake Theatre, Oakland, CA1925-1926OaklandCA
Willard Library, Evansville, IN1884EvansvilleIN
Yeon Building, Downtown, Portland, OR1911PortlandOR
Naylor, David, American Picture Palaces The Architecture of Fantasy, 217, 1981. "Masonic Theatre, Gilroy", Architect & Engineer, 113, 06/1920. "Fresno Theatre plans announced", Architect & Engineer, 114, col 1-2, 05/1920. "Faced with Sacramento Sandstone Brick", Architect and Engineer, XXXV: 1, 30, 1913-11. "McKeon and Saul Theatre, Martinez", Architect and Engineer, 114, 05/1920. "Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco, Cal.", Architectural Review (Boston), 19 new series: 2, 78-79, 162, Woodbridge, Sally B., Woodbridge, John B., "Central Building", Architecture San Francisco: The Guide, 21, 1982. Woodbridge, Sally B., Woodbridge, John B., Architecture San Francisco: The Guide, 4, 1982. Ross, Marion Dean, Century of Architeture in Oregon 1859-1959, 9, 11, 1959. Rothenberg, Alan E., "It Pays to Preserve", Cry California, 9-11, 1974 / 1975. Goodkin, Barry, "Theatre Openings: American Embassy Theater, San Francisco, CA", Marquee, 29: 1, 30, 1997. Wiley, Peter Booth, National Trust Guide San Francisco: America's Guide for Architecture and History Travelers, 97-101, 2000. Bohan, Suzanne, "SF hotel regains lustrous past: Fairmont reopens bar, restaurant that were designed in 1907", Sacramento Bee, 01/08/2000. "Razing Set for 1890 Mansion", San Diego Evening Tribune, A14, 1955-11-25. "Types of Modern San Francisco Buildings, Designed by Reid Brothers, Architects", San Francisco Call, 107: 82, 47, 1910-02-20. "Will erect big movie theater: Structure to be built on Mission Street, between 21st and 22d Streets", San Francisco Chronicle, 51, 10/17/1915.