The two four-storey brick buildings of the E. Van Allen Company still stand on the north side of George Street close to the corner of Bay Street. This company manufactured Star-brand shirts, collars, cuffs and other clothing.
Eli Van Allen worked as a carpenter and builder after coming to Hamilton from New York in 1868. He employed 15 men just three years later. His workers were a common sight around town. They helped build parts of the court house and the new 1887 post office and custom house at the southwest corner of King and John Streets.
Sensing that the time was right for change, Van Allen bought an existing shirt factory near the northwest corner of George and Bay Streets in 1890. Van Allen’s new business met with success. In 1903, the company erected the brick buildings at this site. They were located immediately west of the original plant.
The company used these buildings until 1925. A number of different companies operated out of the former clothing factory over the next few decades after that. In 1988, the two buildings were connected by a glass atrium and converted into commercial offices.