The Right House is a landmark building in the streetscape of downtown Hamilton. It was designed by local architect William Stewart & Son in 1890 for merchant, former schoolteacher, and Irish immigrant Thomas C. Watkins in 1880, and was completed in 1893 at a cost of $100,000. Located at 35 King Street East, it is a designated heritage site (City by law 84-31), and is the home of many Hamilton firsts!
1. The Right House was Hamilton’s first department store.
2. It was the first in Hamilton to employ “lady clerks”
3. It was the first in Hamilton to install the overhead cash-carrying system.
4. It had the first private telephone exchange connecting all store departments.
5. It was the first to stage a fashion show with live models.
6. It was the first department store in Hamilton to adopt the policy of selling furniture on a gradual payment basis.
7. It was the first department store to establish a charge account.
8. It was the first store to have an elevator.
9. It was the first store to introduce suburban delivery.
10. On June 6, 1956, the Right House was the first air-conditioned store in Hamilton. On that date, a crane (the largest in Hamilton) lifted a 9-tonne air compressor on to the roof.
The doors to The Right House closed for good at 5:30 PM on January 15, 1983.