Is this your first time here?

Each day, Clio connects thousands of people to nearby culture and history. Our website and mobile app are free for everyone and designed to make it easy to discover cultural and historical sites throughout the United States. You can search for nearby sites, take a walking tour, create your own itinerary, or simply go for a walk or drive and let Clio show you nearby sites using our mobile app. Clio is non-profit and free for everyone thanks to the support of people like you. Donations are tax- deductible! Click here to learn more!

Van Allen Building

Historic Sites, Monuments, Landmarks, and Public Art (National Register of Historic Places)


The Van Allen Building, also known as the Van Allen and Company Department Store, is a four-story building in the heart of downtown Clinton, IA. It was designed by Louis Sullivan and commissioned by John Delbert Van Allen. It was a department store from 1912 until 1914. Listed as one of only 23 national historic landmarks in the state by the National Register of Historic Places, Van Allen Apartments features 19 family units — one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments.

Van Allen Building
John D. Van Allen in 1919


   The building’s historical significance dates back to John D. Van Allen’s arrival in Clinton in 1892.Rather unusually, Van Allen and Sullivan planned the building around intended use of the interior space. The men carefully laid out floor plans and designed displays, showcases, and aisles before creating plans for the building itself. The main floor of the new store was for general dry goods and men's furnishings. The second floor was women's costumes, and the third floor household fabrics, bedding and rugs. The top floor was not planned for immediate use and intended as an area for future growth.

   The former mercantile businessman opened the multi-story department store to serve as the first major rail stop for travelers headed west of Chicago, Ill. By 1908, Van Allen had become the most respected retailer in Clinton and soon expanded the business with the help of renowned design architect Louis Sullivan. 

  The restored Van Allen Apartments include full amenities, a gorgeous view of the city and nearby Mississippi River, and is conveniently located all less than a mile from civic, educational and cultural resources. The building now uses the upper floors as space for apartments, with the ground floor being used for commercial purposes. The exterior of the building was designed to have urban appeal with plain surfaces, clean lines and harmonious proportions. Louis Sullivan was recommended as the architect by F.H. Shaver. 

NW Corner, 5th Ave and S 2nd St
Clinton, IA 52732
  • Cultural History
This location was created on 2015-07-30 by Michal Meadows .   It was last updated on 2015-10-28 by Clio Admin .

This entry has been viewed 573 times within the past year


  • No comments found.

Join The Discussion

Only registered users can comment. Registration is completely free!

Login / Register

ResponsiveVoice used under Non-Commercial License