By Andy Thornley
I can’t remember when I realized the Reid brothers were following me around. Though I fancy myself a student of American architectural history, it didn’t register when I learned that James and Merritt Reid had designed the Balboa Theater (1926). Nor did it ring any bells when I found out that they (and sometimes younger brother Watson) were responsible for the Fairmont Hotel (1906) and the Cliff House (1909) and the Spreckels Temple of Music in Golden Gate Park (a.k.a. the band shell, 1899).
But when the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition moved its now-former offices into a 1908 post-quake pioneer on Market Street, next to a Reid-designed pre-quake department store (still standing), down the street from a second Reid-designed store (likewise still standing) and across the street from an office building and hotel they designed (yes, both still standing), I could no longer deny that this obscure but prolific trio of Canadian architects were haunting me.