Memorable Manitobans: Peter Cornelius Samwell [Samwel] (1874-1951)
Born at Den Helder, The Netherlands on 9 January 1874, he was raised and educated at Amsterdam. He became an architect and was responsible for the designs of several theatres and arcades in Amsterdam, Utrecht, and Berlin (Germany). He married Clara Laura Maria Reimer (1876-1958), immigrated to Canada in 1908, and settled in Saskatchewan, residing with the Van Dorsser family in the vicinity of the Salvation Army Colony at Tisdale.
Around 1910, he and his wife moved to Winnipeg, living at 366 Aberdeen Avenue (1910-1911) and 685 Mulvey Avenue (1911-1920). The couple had a daughter, Maude Helen Samwell (1912-?). He designed numerous apartment blocks, including seven in his first year alone. He also owned at least one apartment block that he designed. In his later years in Winnipeg, he worked as a draftsman for the Greater Winnipeg Water District and was the lead designer for “Garden City,” a proposed model self-sustaining settlement 40 miles from Winnipeg (1918).
By 1920, he suffered a financial foreclosure and lost the subsequent appeal, after which he and his family moved to Winter Park, Florida in January 1921 where he continued his architectural practice. He moved to Los Angeles, California in 1932 and worked as a draftsman in the office of the Los Angeles Regional Planning Commission. He later worked as a building construction consultant, advising on siting, financing, and insurance for building projects.
He died at Los Angeles on 8 April 1951, after being struck by an automobile while walking along a street, and was buried in the Palm Cemetery at Winter Park, Florida.
Some of his architectural works in Manitoba included:
Birth registration [Sainwell], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1930 US Census, FamilySearch.
“Successful Canadian colonization scheme,” Manitoba Daily Free Press, 20 June 1908, page 17.
“Tenders [J. E. Wilson apartments],” Manitoba Morning Free Press, 10 February 1910, page 2.
“New apartment block [The Almonte on Young Street],” Manitoba Free Press, 10 April 1911, page 13.
“New apartment block [The Rosetta on Langside Street],” Manitoba Free Press, 10 April 1911, page 13.
“Plans for long arcade in Winnipeg,” Manitoba Free Press, 11 April 1911, page 16.
1911 Canada Census [Samuel], Automated Genealogy.
“Gets permits for apartment blocks [Preston & Langside],” Manitoba Free Press, 10 June 1911, page 13.
“Another big issue of building permits [Alverstone],” Manitoba Free Press, 23 May 1912, page 12.
“Apartment for Lipton Street,” Winnipeg Tribune, 24 June 1912, page 1.
“Building and realty news [Alverstone],” Manitoba Free Press, 25 June 1912, page 21.
“Central market for farmers [Industrial Bureau Exhibition Building],” Winnipeg Tribune, 15 November 1912, page 8.
“Plans are ready for many new buildings [Rosa Linda],” Manitoba Free Press, 12 April 1913, page 11.
“Mrs. A. E. Jamieson erecting a $60,000 apartment on the west side of Notre Dame,” Winnipeg Tribune, 19 June 1913, page 1.
“Thirty new apartment blocks being built,” Manitoba Free Press, 2 August 1913, page 10.
“St. Jude’s will building addition [Tenement - Wolseley],” Winnipeg Tribune, 17 June 1914, page 2.
“Model city to be built near Winnipeg,” Winnipeg Tribune, 14 September 1918, page 14.
“Court decided it has no right to open up foreclosure proceedings,” Manitoba Free Press, 9 October 1920, page 4.
Obituary, Los Angeles Times, 9 April 1951, page 11.
City of Winter Park, Historic Resources Survey 2013.
FindAGrave, Palm Cemetery (Winter Park, Florida).
Henderson’s Winnipeg and Brandon Directories, Peel’s Prairie Provinces, University of Alberta Libraries.
Winnipeg Buildings Index [Paul C. Samwel]
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer, Gordon Goldsborough, and Robert Hill.
Page revised: 13 August 2022