Date Built: 1840
The Castle was a magnificent Jacobean Revival style mansion built on James Street South in 1840 for lawyer Colin Reid.1 The design, possibly conceived by local architect F. J. Rastrick, was influenced by that of Abbotsford, the Scottish manor built for author Sir Walter Scott.2 The property once took up the whole block bounded by James, Duke, Robinson and MacNab streets, included finely manicured gardens and was surrounded by a stone wall.
After the death of Colin Reid, the house was occupied by furniture manufacturer James Reid. In 1887, the estate was purchased by lumber merchant Robert Thomas. Thomas renamed the estate Amisfield. After Thomas' death, the estate was occupied for many years by his widow.3
In 1950, amidst rumors that The Castle would be demolished, Realtor Alex Brown announced that the building would be incorporated into a new development.4 In 1951, a gas station was built in front of the house. In 1980, the modern plaza in front of the house was built. Amisfield now stands almost entirely hidden from view by modern commercial development, but the top of the building can still be seen from James Street South.
1 pg. 140 Footsteps in Time, Volume 1 by Bill Manson
2, 3, 4 pg. 20 The Grand Old Buildings of Hamilton by Brian Henley