Percy Boughton Newman (1883-1961), Architect

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Omaha, Nebraska, 1907-1913, 1917; Columbus, Nebraska, 1914; Saint Paul, Minnesota, 1918-1920

DBA, P. B. Newman, Architect Percy Boughton Newman was born in Goderich, Ontario, Canada in 1883. He married Edith Gertrude Arnot in Toronto in 1904 and they immigrated to the U. S. in 1905, where they had at least six children, born in Nebraska and in Iowa.[1][5] Newman worked as a draftsman for Latenser, Prinz, and Steele, and had brief partnerships as an architect in Omaha as Hall & Newman and in Columbus as Wurdeman & Newman before moving to Saint Paul, Minnesota around 1918. He resided in Los Angeles, California by 1942 and died there in 1961.[2][16]

This page is a contribution to the publication, Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. See the format and contents page for more information on the compilation and page organization.

Compiled Nebraska Directory Listings

Omaha, Nebraska, 1906-1913, 1916-1917

Educational & Professional Associations

1906-1908: draftsman for John Latenser, Omaha, Nebraska.[10]

1909: draftsman for Union Pacific Railroad, Omaha, Nebraska.[10]

1910: draftsman for G. B. Prinz, Omaha, Nebraska.[10]

1911: architect and partner with Oliver A. Hall of Hall & Newman, Omaha, Nebraska.[10][a]

1912: draftsman for John Latenser, Omaha, Nebraska.[10][a]

1913: draftsman for G. B. Prinz, Omaha, Nebraska.[10][a]

1913-1914: draftsman for W. L. Steele, Mason City, Iowa.[9][12]

1914: architect and partner with Charles Wurdeman in Wurdeman & Newman, Columbus, Nebraska.[13][c]

1916: estimator, Missouri Valley Marble & Tile Company, Omaha, Nebraska.[10][e]

1917: architect, Omaha, Nebraska.[10]

1918: building estimator for Great Northern Railroad Co., Saint Paul, Minnesota.[4]

1918: draftsman for Slifer Lundie & Abrahamson, Saint Paul, Minnesota.[6]

1919-1920: architect, Saint Paul, Minnesota.[6][8]

1942: architectural designer, Pasadena, California.[16]

Buildings & Projects

Preliminary plans for Woodbury County Courthouse (1913), Sioux City, Iowa.[11][b]

Empress Theater (1914), 421 North Main Street, Fremont, Nebraska.[3][d]


a. The Omaha city directory of 1911 listed P. Boughton Newman as a member (with Oliver A. Hall) of "Hall & Newman, Architects & Structural Engineers," and noted Newman's residence as Council Bluffs, Iowa. In 1912, Newman was again listed as a draftsman with John Latenser, then in 1913, drafting in the office of G. B. Prinz, still residing in Council Bluffs.[10]

b. The Sioux City Journal reported December 4, 1913 that the Woodbury County supervisors were examining plans for a $1,000,000 courthouse "as submitted by P. B. Newman, a draughtsman in the offices of W. L. Steele, architect." It was further noted that "In many respects the plans submitted are similar to those followed in constructing the Douglas county, Neb., courthouse at Omaha. Mr. Newman was connected with the firm of architects that drew plans for that edifice." On December 10, 1913, the same paper reported "Directors of the Commercial club in session yesterday expressed themselves as being unanimously in favor of the plans for a new courthouse. The plans were submitted by Architect P. B. Newman, who explained the advantages of the contemplated structure. No official action was taken on the project."[11] Voters overwhelmingly approved a proposition to expend $500,000 for a new county courthouse in June of 1914 and W. L. Steele was chosen as architect for the courthouse in early 1915. The assistance of "George Elmslie, a Chicago designer, who will assist W. L. drawing the plans for the new $500,000 courts building," received only scant mention in the Sioux City press.[12]

c. The announcement of the Wurdeman & Newman partnership noted Newman's family would move to Columbus "as soon as he can find a suitable residence." That was accomplished before August 1914, when the Newmans' daughter Adelaide died "at the family home, Seventeenth and Washington streets" in Columbus, "due to throat trouble."[13][14]

d. The Fremont Tribune described plans for the new theater in 1914, noting "Wurdeman & Newman of Columbus are the architects." In 1917 Wurdeman sued Nels Johnson in Fremont "for $1,250 for the plans and supervision of the erection of the Empress theatre at Fremont. Mr. Johnson maintained that he had dealt with Mr. Wurdeman's former partner, P. B. Newman, and had settled with him."[3][15]

e. "Percy G. [sic] Newman" is listed as an estimator in the 1916 Omaha city directory, while "Percy B. Newman" is listed in 1917 (as an architect).[10]


1. "Declaration of Intention" (to become a U. S. citizen), 1942, "California, Federal Naturalization Records, 1843-1999" [database on-line], s.v. "Percy Boughton Newman." Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.

2. "California, Death Index, 1940-1997" [database on-line], s.v. "Percy Boughton Newman." Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000.

3. "Completing Plans for Empress Theater--New Playhouse to be of Fine Modern Design--A Seating Capacity of 900," Fremont (Nebraska) Tri-Weekly Tribune (May 28, 1914), 6.

4. "U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," [database on-line], s.v. "Percy Boughton Newman." Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005.

5. "Iowa, Delayed Birth Records, 1856-1940," [database on-line], s.v. "Percy Boughton Newman.", Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2017.

6. Saint Paul, Minnesota city directories, 1918-1922.

7. "1910 United States Federal Census," [database on-line], s.v. "Percy Boughton Newman." Lehi, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006.

8. "1920 United States Federal Census," [database on-line], s.v. "Percy Boughton Newman." Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.

9. Mason City, Iowa city directory, 1914.

10. Omaha, Nebraska city directories, 1906-1913, 1916-1917.

11. Sioux City (Iowa) Journal, "Millions for Court House--Supervisors to put Proposition up to Voters--Sketches Are Presented" (December 4, 1913), 1, 9; "Approve Courthouse Plans. Directors of Commercial Club Go Over Sketches by Architect," (December 10, 1913), 8.

12. Sioux City (Iowa) Journal, "Courthouse Issue Wins by Big Vote...Proportion will be 7 to 1," (June 2, 1914), 1; "Board Chooses W. L. Steele--Selects Architect for New Courthouse--Dislike Competitive Bids--Supervisors Declare Experience Has Been that Most Efficient Members of Profession Will Not Submit Sketches and Take Changes" (January 2, 1915), 9; [Elmslie mentioned], (February 3, 1915), 12.

13. Announcement of Wurdeman & Newman partnership, Columbus (Nebraska) Telegram (March 20, 1914), 1.

14. Notice of death of two-year-old daughter (Adelaide Edith) of Mr. & Mrs. P. B. Newman, Columbus (Nebraska) Telegram (August 21, 1914), 3.

15. Columbus (Nebraska) Telegram (June 8, 1917), 1.

16. "California, Federal Naturalization Records, 1843-1999" [database on-line], s.v. "Percy Boughton Newman." Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.

Page Citation

E. Zimmer, “Percy Boughton Newman (1883-1961), Architect,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, February 10, 2020. Accessed, December 3, 2023.

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