Historic Sites of Manitoba: Keewayden Building / Crowley Building (138 Portage Avenue East, Winnipeg)

This seven-storey brick building on the south side of Portage Avenue East in Winnipeg, measuring 87.5 feet by 90 feet, was designed by local architect Herbert Edward Matthews and built by James McDiarmid in 1909 at a cost of about $265,000 for the Notre Dame Investment Company.

Later transferred into the ownership of the Bank of Nova Scotia, in April 1928 it was sold for $100,000 to the partnership of Benjamin “Ben” Jacob and John Henry Crowley operating as the Jacob-Crowley Manufacturing Company. It was renamed the Crowley Building. In 1936, post-fire alterations to the building were completed by contractor Ernest Pilgrim at a cost of about $4,500.

In February 2017, it became a municipally-designated historic building as plans to convert it to a hotel went unfulfilled. An arson fire in early 2019 caused damage to the upper two floors. As of 2023, plans exist to convert the building to residential housing.

Keewayden Building / Crowley Building

Keewayden Building / Crowley Building (May 2017)
Source: Nathan Kramer

Keewayden Building / Crowley Building

Keewayden Building / Crowley Building (February 2021)
Source: George Penner

Site Location (lat/long): N49.89479, W97.13619
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Memorable Manitobans: Herbert Edward Matthews (1868-1941)

Memorable Manitobans: James McDiarmid (1855-1934)

Memorable Manitobans: Benjamin “Ben” Jacob (1891-1975)

Memorable Manitobans: John Henry Crowley (1888-1963)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Municipally Designated Historic Sites

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Crowley House (60 Harvard Avenue, Winnipeg)


City of Winnipeg Building Permit 1329/1909, City of Winnipeg Archives.

“Local notes [The Prudential Life Insurance Company],” Manitoba Free Press, 15 March 1910, page 7.

“Notice of removal [The Standard Trusts Company & The Excelsior Life Insurance Company],” Manitoba Free Press, 24 March 1910, page 3.

“The Prudential Life Insurance Company,” Manitoba Free Press, 25 March 1910, page 10.

“Keewayden Blk. Portage Ave. E., sold for $100,000,” Winnipeg Tribune, 5 April 1928, page 1.

“Firemen answer dozen calls over week-end,” Winnipeg Tribune, 23 April 1928, page 6.

“Plant growth shows trend of local industry,” Winnipeg Tribune, 15 October 1928, page 11.

“Downtown building damaged by fire,” Winnipeg Free Press, 16 May 1936, page 6.

City of Winnipeg Building Permit 2799/1936, City of Winnipeg Archives.

“Building permits issued in week valued at $18,000,” Winnipeg Free Press, 14 November 1936, page 4.

“Alterations to Crowley Block to cost $4,500,” Winnipeg Tribune, 14 November 1936, page 24.

“Building during November shows seasonal drop,” Winnipeg Free Press, 10 December 1936, page 32.

“In respect to J. H. Crowley,” Winnipeg Free Press, 26 February 1963, page 5.

Obituary [John Henry Crowley], Winnipeg Free Press, 26 February 1963, page 21.

Obituary [Benjamin Jacob], Winnipeg Free Press, 29 October 1975, page 54.

“The passing of Mr. Ben Jacob,” Winnipeg Free Press, 31 October 1975, page 27.

We thank George Penner and Jordan Makichuk for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 10 September 2023

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