Samwel, Peter Cornelius

SAMWEL, Peter Cornelius (1874-1951), a Dutch architect who was active in Winnipeg, Man. for nearly 13 years before moving to Florida, and then to California. He worked as professional architect and draftsman in the following locations:

Peter C. Samwel, architect, Amsterdam, The Netherlands 1902-08
Peter C. Samwel, architect, Winnipeg, Man. 1910-17
Peter C. Samwel, architect, Orlando, Fla., Jan. 1921 to April 1923
Peter C. Samwel, architect, Winter Park, Fla., May 1923 until 1933
Peter C. Samwell, architect, Los Angeles, Calif. June 1934 to early 1935
Peter C. Samwell, draftsman, Los Angeles Regional Planning Commission, 1935-39
Peter C. Samwell, draftsman, U.S. Government, Los Angeles, Calif., 1939-41
Peter C. Samwell, Building Construction Consultant, Los Angeles, 1942 until retirement

Samwel was born in Den Helder, The Netherlands on 9 January 1874 and was raised and educated in Amsterdam. He came from a family who had been engaged in architecture and building contracting, and as dealers of building supplies and tile manufacturers, and his father and uncles provided him with knowledge of the building trades. At the age of 21 years, he was placed in charge of construction of school buildings in Utrecht, Netherlands, and supervised the construction of the Municipal Fruit and Grain Exchange. In 1897 he was fortunate to obtain a job as a draftsman in the office of Dr. Petrus J.H. Cuypers (1827-1921), a renowned architect in Europe and designer of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam in 1876-1885. In 1898 Samwel obtained a position in the office of Hendrik P. Berlage (1856-1934), and assisted him with preparation of drawings for the Amsterdam Stock Exchange (built 1897-1903), now considered to be a key work of European architecture, and still standing today.

With these impeccable credentials from leading Dutch architects, Samwel opened his own office in Amsterdam as an architect in 1902, and was the designer of the Noggerath Bioscope Theatre, one of the first moving picture houses in Amsterdam built in 1907 and still standing today. It is unclear why Samwel made the decision to leave The Netherlands, and he and his wife moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1908 where he became a successful architect specialising in the design of walk-up apartment buildings, and he later claimed credit for the design of 22 residential blocks in that city from 1910 to 1914. The collapse of the local economy after 1914 forced Samwel to take a job with the Greater Winnipeg Water District in 1918, then as a draftsman with the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1919-20. In January 1921 he moved to central Florida, USA and found the prosperous economy and warm climate to be much more amenable, and he became a successful architect in Winter Park, Florida, near Orlando, and continued to live and work there until 1932 when the impact of the Great Depression forced him to move to Los Angeles, California. No references to his activity as an architect there have been found; instead, he worked as a draftsman in the office of the Los Angeles Regional Planning Commission (in 1935-39), and later opened his own business as a Building Construction Consultant, advising on issues of siting, finance and insurance for building projects.

Samwell died in Los Angeles on 8 April 1951 after being hit by a car while walking on Figueroa Street. He was later buried at Palm Cemetery in Winter Park, Fla. (obituary Los Angeles Times, 9 April 1951, Section One, p. 11; inf. from the Manitoba Assoc. of Architects). A detailed biography and list of works in Florida designed by Samwel up to 1926 was published in the Orlando Morning Sentinel, 12 December 1926, Section Three, p. 3). After moving to California in 1933, he changed the spelling of his last name from Samwel to Samwell.

(works in The Netherlands)

BLOEMENDAAL, NORTH HOLLAND, a villa at No. 6 Noorder Stationsweg, 1902; still standing as of 2020 (inf. Municipality of Bloemendaal, Heritage Inventory)
BRUGSTEEG, No. 21, near the Damrak, a ground floor retail shop front, with stone piers on flanking sides, and now part of The Continental Hotel, 1906; still standing as of 2020 (inf. Arno Weltens, Amsterdam)
AMSTERDAM, The Noggerath Theatre, Regulierbreestraat, 1907; still standing as of 2020 (inf. Arno Weltens, Amsterdam)

(works in Winnipeg)

BIELDY APARTMENTS, Aikins Street at Mountain Avenue, 1910 (C.R., xxiv, 2 Feb. 1910, 23; Winnipeg b.p. 257, 1910)
PRESTON COURT APARTMENTS, Langside Street at Preston Avenue, 1910 (C.R., xxiv, 18 May 1910, 28; Winnipeg b.p. 978, 4 May 1910)
MARTELLO APARTMENTS, Broadway, 1910 (C.R., xxiv, 17 Aug. 1910, 26; Winnipeg b.p. 2368, 19 Aug. 1910)
DIANA APARTMENTS, Furby Street, 1911 (Winnipeg b.p. 727, 1911)
ALMONTE APARTMENTS, Young Street, 1911 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 10 April 1911, 13, illus. & descrip.; Winnipeg b.p. 1630, 8 June 1911)
ROSETTA APARTMENTS, Langside Street, 1911 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 10 April 1911, 13, illus. & descrip.)
PUBLIC ARCADE, a proposal for glass arcade and six storey office block, running from Notre Dame Street to the rear of stores at Portage Avenue and Main Street, to cost $1 million dollars, 1911, but not built (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 11 April 1911, 16, illus. & detailed descrip.)
WINNIPEG SANATARIUM, Desalaberry Avenue, 1911-12 (C.R., xxv, 31 May 1911, 59; Winnipeg City Directory, 1912, 170, illus. in advert.)
BANNERMAN APARTMENTS, Bannerman Avenue at West Street, 1912 (Winnipeg b.p. 1149, 1912)
MERIE APARTMENTS, Burnell Street, 1912 (Winnipeg b.p. 1522, 1912)
NEIL APARTMENTS, Rosser Avenue near Nassau Street, 1912 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 22 June 1912, 13, illus.; Winnipeg b.p. 2210, 1912)
WEST APARTMENTS, Alverstone Street, 1912 (Winnipeg b.p. 2268, 22 June 1912)
LIPTON STREET, between Sargent Avenue and Ellice Avenue, apartment block for J.E. Wilson, 1912 (Winnipeg Daily Tribune, 24 June 1912, 1)
RILEY APARTMENTS, Evanson Street, 1912 (Winnipeg b.p. 4218, 1912)
LORNE HILL, country residence for E.F. Hutchings, 1912 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 5 Oct. 1912, 13, illus. & descrip.)
CENTRAL MARKET, Main Street, south of the Industrial Bureau Exposition Building, 1913 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 5 April 1913, 15, descrip.)
WINNIPEG AVENUE, near Monkman Street, apartment block for Mrs. A. E. Jamieson, 1913 (C.R., xxvii, 7 May 1913, 72)
ROSA LINDA APARTMENTS, Evanson Street, 1913 (Winnipeg. b.p. 2264, 2 July 1913)
PARK AVENUE, at Henry Street, apartment block for A.F. Kindt, 1913 (Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 2 Aug. 1913, 10)
NOTRE DAME AVENUE, near Furby Street, apartment block for Mrs. A.E. Jamieson, 1913 (Winnipeg Tribune, 19 June 1913, 1, descrip.; Manitoba Free Press [Winnipeg], 2 Aug. 1913, 10)
HUNTLEY APARTMENTS, Young Street, 1914 (Winnipeg b.p. 1394, 15 May 1914)
WOLSLEY AVENUE, south side, tenement building for an unnamed client, between Maryland Street and Walnut Street, 1914 (Winnipeg Tribune, 17 June 1914, 2)
RURAL MANITOBA, Hilversum Garden City, for the Greater Winnipeg Water District, a proposal for a new self-supporting Garden City located 40 miles from Winnipeg, designed in 1918, but not built (Winnipeg Tribune, 14 Sept. 1918, 14, illus. & descrip.)

(works in Florida, USA)

ST. CLOUD, OSCEOLA COUNTY, High School, 1923 (Tampa Sunday Tribune, 27 May 1923, Section One, p. 8)
WINTER PARK, FLA., St. Margaret Mary Roman Catholic Church, Knowles Street at Canton Street, 1924; demol. 1971 (Orlando Sentinel - Winter Park Edition, 5 Aug. 1971, 1, illus. & descrip.)
WINTER PARK, FLA., new clubhouse for The Business Men's Club, on Lake Mizell, 1925 (Orlando Morning Sentinel, 24 Dec. 1925, Section Two, p. 1, descrip.)
ALOMA, FLA., Club House for the Aloma Golf Links Course, 1926 (Orlando Morning Sentinel, 12 Dec. 1926, Section 3, p. 1, descrip.; p. 3, illus. in advert.)
EDGEWATER HEIGHTS, FLA., a mansion for Thomas H. Smith, c. 1925, with high garden wall surrounding the entire property for the new owner William N. Reynolds, 1927 (Orlando Morning Sentinel, 28 Aug. 1927, 3, descrip.)
LAKE WALES, FLA., Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church, Hesperides Road at 11th Street, 1927 (Lake Wales Highlander, 16 Dec. 1927)

The following works designed by P.C. Samwel in Florida are listed in a self-advertisement for the architect published in the Orlando Morning Sentinel, 12 Dec. 1926, Section Three, p. 3, and were built between 1922 and 1926.
WINTER PARK, FLA., major addition to the Methodist Episcopal Church, c. 1925
MAITLAND, FLA., residence for the Right Rev. John Wing, c. 1925
WINTER PARK, FLA., The Lincoln Apartments, Morse Boulevard at New York Avenue, 1925; demol. 2002
WINTER PARK, FLA., The Hamilton Hotel, South Park Avenue at New England Avenue, c. 1925; renamed The Park Plaza Hotel, remodeled c.1970 and still standing as of 2020
WINTER PARK, FLA., major addition to the High School, c. 1925
MAITLAND, FLA., public school, c. 1925
WINTER PARK, FLA., residence for W.R. Joiner, c. 1925
WINTER PARK, FLA., residence for H.E. Cole, c. 1925
WINTER PARK, FLA., residence for P.L. Reese, c. 1925
WINTER PARK, FLA., residence for George Freymark, c. 1925