Long regarded as an anomaly among his later works, Louis Sullivan's retail dry goods store for John D. Van Allen and Son of 1913-1915 in Clinton, Iowa, is one of his best documented buildings in surviving drawings and correspondence. Though related to his earlier Schlesinger and Mayer Store in Chicago, the Van Allen Building was Sullivan's only design for a regional adaptation of a metropolitan department store for a smaller city. Often criticized for the ornamental vertical mullions on its main elevation, the Van Allen store's exterior was carefully conceived with respect to its interior plan and its method of construction. Analysis of the design's development reveals that the mullions may have been Sullivan's architectural solution to interrelated questions of the visual rhythm of openings on both street fronts, the expression of the structural system that defined the store's main interior aisles, and the Van Allen Building's height and position in its urban context. The ornamental motifs on the mullions may suggest the relation between mercantile interests and regional agriculture which preoccupied the Van Allens as progressive businessmen who saw Sullivan's building as part of a larger vision for their city's urban development. In its symbolism the Van Allen store is thus related to Sullivan's banks of the same period. The response of Sullivan's design to the particular requirements of the commission makes the Van Allen Building an instructive example of his interest in architectural expression of a building's specific character as one facet of his theoretical ideal that "form follows function."

[Footnotes]

[Footnotes]
1
Hugh Morrison, Louis Sullivan, Prophet of Modern Architecture, New York, 1935, 216-217
Morrison
216
Louis Sullivan, Prophet of Modern Architecture
1935
Albert Bush-Brown, Louis Sullivan, New York, 1960, 31
Bush-Brown
31
Louis Sullivan
1960
Willard Connely, Louis Sullivan as He Lived: The Shaping of American Architecture, New York, 1960, 254-255, 260
Connely
254
Louis Sullivan as He Lived: The Shaping of American Architecture
1960
H. Allen Brooks, The Prairie School: Frank Lloyd Wright and His Midwestern Contemporaries, Toronto, 1972, 233-234
Brooks
233
The Prairie School: Frank Lloyd Wright and His Midwestern Contemporaries
1972
William H. Jordy, American Buildings and Their Architects: Progressive and Academic Ideals at the Turn of the Twentieth Century, 1972, reprint, New York, 1986, 152-154
Jordy
152
American Buildings and Their Architects: Progressive and Academic Ideals at the Turn of the Twentieth Century, 1972
1986
Narcisco G. Meno- cal, Architecture as Nature; The Transcendentalist Idea of Louis Sullivan, Madison, 1981, 137
Menocal
137
Architecture as Nature; The Transcendentalist Idea of Louis Sullivan
1981
Robert Twombly, Louis Sullivan, His Life and Work, New York, 1986, 419-420
Twombly
419
Louis Sullivan, His Life and Work
1986
Historic American Buildings Sur- vey (H.A.B.S. Survey No. IA-22)
"New Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis H. Sullivan Papers in the Burnham Library of Ar- chitecture," Calendar of the Art Institute of Chicago, LXV, 1971, 6-15
6
LXV
Calendar of the Art Institute of Chicago
1971
2
William H. Jordy, "The Tall Buildings," in Wim de Wit, ed., Louis Sullivan: The Function of Ornament, New York, 1986, 140-141
Jordy
The Tall Buildings
140
Louis Sullivan: The Function of Ornament
1986
3
John D. Van Allen (1850-1928) is found in the Clinton Herald, 31 December 1928, 5
Van Allen
31 December
5
Clinton Herald
1928
18 June 1952, 10
Van Allen Store File, Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa
Van Allen
Clinton Herald
"Sketches of Prominent Business and Profes- sional Men," Souvenir Age (supplement to The Clinton Morning Age), Clinton, Iowa, August 1897
Sketches of Prominent Business and Professional Men
Souvenir Age
1897
Katherine Long and Melvin Erickson, Clinton: A Pictorial History, Rock Island, Ill., 1983
Long
Clinton: A Pictorial History
1983
Clinton County Historical Society, History of Clinton County Iowa, Clinton, Iowa, 1978
Clinton County Historical Society
History of Clinton County Iowa
1978
Estelle LePrevost Youle, History of Clinton County, Iowa, Clinton, Iowa, 1946
Youle
History of Clinton County, Iowa
1946
P. B. Wolfe, ed., Wolfe's History of Clinton County Iowa, 2 vols., Indi- anapolis, Ind., 1911
Wolfe
Wolfe's History of Clinton County Iowa
1911
Lucius P. Allen, ed., The History of Clinton County, Iowa, Chicago, 1879
Allen
The History of Clinton County
1879
4
Clinton Herald, 17 June 1952, 2
17 June
2
Clinton Herald
1952
9 May 1967, 5
17 January 1968, 2
Long and Erickson, Clinton, 32, 70
32
5
Frederick H. Van Allen is found in the Clinton Herald, 19 June 1952, 18
Van Allen
19 June
18
Clinton Herald
1952
11 December 1953, 14
Van Allen Store File, Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa
Van Allen
Clinton Herald
6
John D. Van Allen and Son's store, Clinton Herald, 3 October 1914, 5
Van Allen
3 October
5
Clinton Herald
1914
"Short Lengths for the Ad Man," Merchants Record and Show Window, XV, November 1904, 50
November
50
XV
Merchants Record and Show Window
1904
7
Garret A. Van Allen, notes to application of John D. Van Allen for membership in the Holland Society of New York, 10 August 1908. Library, Holland Society of New York, New York City.
8
John D. and Fred H. Van Allen, 30 December 1909, recorded in Clinton County Auditor's Office, Transfer Book for Block 13, Lots 1-2-3, page 119
F. H. Shaver, vice president, People's Savings Bank, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to John D. Van Allen, 29 September 1910. Burnham Library, Art Institute of Chi- Cago
9
"The Journal's Report on Retail Conditions," Merchants Trade Journal, XIV, February 1913, 7-8
February
7
XIV
Merchants Trade Journal
1913
April 1913, 7-8, 21
August 1913, 12, 44
Alfred E. Strand, "Fighting the Mail Order House," ibid., XVI, October 1915, 24, 50
Strand
October
24
XVI
Merchants Trade Journal
1915
"The Mail Order House and How to Meet It," ibid., XVII, May 1916, 28, 48, 66
May
28
XVII
Merchants Trade Journal
1919
10
"A Strictly Modern Store," Merchants Trade Journal, XVI, August 1915, 14, 15, 60
August
14
XVI
Merchants Trade Journal
1915
"Keeping Up with the People," ibid., XIV, May 1913, 16
May
16
XIV
Merchants Trade Journal
1913
11
Carson Pirie Scott: Louis Sullivan and the Chicago Department Store, Chicago, 1988, 20-25
20
Carson Pirie Scott: Louis Sullivan and the Chicago Department Store
1988
12
John B. Van Allen, interview with author, Clinton, Iowa, 21 April 1988
Albert H. Bowers, Clinton County Historical Society, letter to author, 23 January 1988
13
Frederick H. Shaver to John D. Van Allen, 29 September 1910. Burnham Library, Art Institute of Chicago.
14
Louis Sullivan to John D. Van Allen, 10 October 1910. Burnham Library, Art Institute of Chicago.
15
Louis Sullivan to John D. Van Allen, 20 March 1911. Burnham Library, Art Institute of Chicago.
16
Louis Sullivan to John D. Van Allen, 16 January 1911. Burnham Library, Art Institute of Chicago.
17
John B. Van Allen to Richard Nickel, 17 October 1956
Louis Sullivan to John D. Van Allen, 11 January 1912. Burnham Library, Art Institute of Chicago
18
Louis Sullivan to John B. Van Allen, 11 January 1912. Burnham Library, Art Institute of Chicago.
19
Louis Sullivan to John D. Van Allen, 10 April 1912. Burnham Library, Art Institute of Chicago.
Louis Sullivan to Ritter and Mott, 18 March 1904
Copybook of Business Letters of Louis H. Sullivan, 1 April 1903 to 9 January 1905
20
"New Van Allen Building Will Be Modern and Complete in Details," Clinton Herald, 30 April 1913, 7
30 April
7
Clinton Herald
1913
"New Van Allen Block To Be One of Iowa's Finest Structures," Clinton Daily Advertiser, 30 April 1913, 5
30 April
5
Clinton Daily Advertiser
1913
21
Louis Sullivan to John D. Van Allen, 11 January 1912. Burnham Library, Art Institute of Chicago.
Siry, Carson Pirie Scott, 40, 191-194
Siry
191
40
Carson Pirie Scott
22
Louis Sullivan to John D. Van Allen, 20 January 1912. Burnham Library, Art Institute of Chicago.
23
Phil H. Feddersen, "John D. Van Allen and Son Store, Clinton, Iowa," unpublished paper in the collection of the Iowa State Historical Society, Division of Historic Preservation, Iowa City, Iowa
24
"New Van Allen Store," Clinton Herald, 29 September 1914, 4.
29 September
4
Clinton Herald
1914
"New Van Allen Building," Clinton Herald, 30 April 1913, 7
30 April
7
Clinton Herald
1913
"New Van Allen Block To Be One of Iowa's Finest Structures," Clinton Daily Advertiser, 30 April 1913, 5
30 April
5
Clinton Daily Advertiser
1913
Lauren S. Weingarden, Louis H. Sullivan: The Banks, Cambridge, Mass., 1987, 20-22
Weingarden
20
Louis H. Sullivan: The Banks
1987
Siry, Carson Pirie Scott, 204-205
Siry
204
Carson Pirie Scott
25
Thomas Tallmadge, "The People's Savings and Loan Association Building of Sydney, Ohio," American Architect, CXIV, 23 October 1918, 480-481
Tallmadge
23 October
480
CXIV
American Architect
1918
26
"New Van Allen Store," Clinton Herald, 29 September 1914, 4.
29 September
4
Clinton Herald
1914
27
"New Van Allen Store," Clinton Herald, 29 September 1914, 4.
29 September
4
Clinton Herald
1914
Ned Teller, "At- tractive Store Fronts," Merchants Trade Journal, XIV, November 1913, 11
Teller
November
11
XIV
Merchants Trade Journal
1913
"Making the Store's Windows Fit the Interior Arrangement," ibid., XVIII, November 1917, 30
Teller
November
30
XVIII
Merchants Trade Journal
1917
28
Donald Hoffmann, The Architecture of John Wellborn Root, Baltimore, 1973, 181-191
Hoffmann
181
The Architecture of John Wellborn Root
1973
29
Christine Frederick, "How Some Merchants' Methods Appeal to A Woman Cus- tomer," Merchants Trade Journal, XV, September 1914, 14
Frederick
September
14
XV
Merchants Trade Journal
1914
"Men Now Buy Their Wear in Department Stores," Chicago Dry Goods Reporter, XLV, 21 March 1914, 57
21 March
57
XLV
Chicago Dry Goods Reporter
1914
30
Clinton Commercial Club, F. H. Van Allen, President, resolution presented to the mayor and city council of Clinton, 28 July 1912
Clinton Commercial Club, "Minutes," 1911-1916, 131
131
Clinton Commercial Club, "Minutes," 1911-1916
"Making Clinton Appear Pretty," Clinton Herald, 13 February 1913, 4
13 February
4
Clinton Herald
1913
Weingarden, Louis H. Sullivan, 22-24
Weingarden
22
Louis H. Sullivan
31
"Street Renaming Plan is Favored," Clinton Herald, 3 July 1913, 10.
3 July
10
Clinton Herald
1913
32
Frederick Van Allen to Louis Sullivan, 21 March 1913. Burnham
"New Van Allen Store," Clinton Herald, 29 September 1914, 4
29 September
4
Clinton Herald
1914
33
Proposal of the Clinton Commercial Club for the Location of the Gov- ernment Armor Plate Plant at Clinton, Iowa, Clinton, 1917
Proposal of the Clinton Commercial Club for the Location of the Government Armor Plate Plant at Clinton, Iowa
1917
Clinton Iowa Souvenir Album of New Industrial Clinton and Clinton Beautiful, documenting the city's current architecture and urban development
Clinton Iowa Souvenir Album of New Industrial Clinton and Clinton Beautiful
Clinton County Historical So- ciety, History of Clinton County Iowa, 145, 148-149
Clinton County Historical Society
148
145
History of Clinton County Iowa
"City Engineer Gives Address," Clinton Herald, 26 February 1913, 5
26 February
5
Clinton Herald
1913
"Lorado Taft in Fine Talk," Clinton Herald, 29 October 1914, 5.
29 October
5
Clinton Herald
1914
34
"Marks of Clinton Progress," Clinton Daily Advertiser, 29 Sep- tember 1914, 4
29 September
4
Clinton Daily Advertiser
1914
Ronald E. Schmitt, The Architecture of Clinton, Iowa, Clinton, Iowa, 1979
Schmitt
The Architecture of Clinton, Iowa
1979
35
Louis Sullivan to John D. Van Allen, 11 January 1912. Burnham
36
Louis Sullivan to John D. Van Allen, 11 January 1912
Siry, Carson Pirie Scott, 90-92
Siry
90
Carson Pirie Scott
37
Louis Sullivan to John D. Van Allen, 15 March 1912. Burnham
38
Louis Sullivan to John D. Van Allen, 3 April 1912. Burnham Library, Art Institute of Chicago.
39
"New Van Allen Building," Clinton Herald, 30 April 1913, 7.
30 April
7
Clinton Herald
1913
"A Monument to Clinton Industry," Clinton Daily Adver- tiser, 1 August 1914
1 August
Clinton Daily Advertiser
1914
40
Adler and Sullivan's Wainwright Build- ing in St. Louis, 1890-1892
Catalogue of Molded and Ornamental Pressed Brick Made by the Chicago Anderson Pressed Brick Company, Chicago, 1887, 3-10
3
Catalogue of Molded and Ornamental Pressed Brick Made by the Chicago Anderson Pressed Brick Company
1887
Louis Sullivan, "Suggestions in Artistic Brick- work," (1910)
Sullivan
Suggestions in Artistic Brickwork
1910
"Artistic Brick," Prairie School Review, IV, Second Quarter 1967, 24
24
IV
Prairie School Review
1967
41
Carl K. Bennett, "A Bank Built for Farmers: Louis Sullivan Designs a Building Which Marks a New Epoch in American Architecture," Craftsman, XV, November 1908, 184
Bennett
November
184
XV
Craftsman
1908
Sul- livan, "Lighting the People's Savings Bank, Cedar Rapids, Iowa," Il- luminating Engineer, VI, February 1912, 632
Sullivan
February
632
VI
Illuminating Engineer
1912
"The Merchants National Bank" (Grinnell, Iowa), Western Architect, XXIII, February 1916, 20
February
20
XXIII
Western Architect
1916
Rebori, "An Architecture of Democracy: Three Recent Examples from the Work of Louis Sullivan," Architectural Record, XXXIX, May 1916, 449
Rebori
May
449
XXXIX
Architectural Record
1916
Tallmadge, "The People's Savings and Loan Association Building of Sydney, Ohio," 478
Tallmadge
478
The People's Savings and Loan Association Building of Sydney, Ohio
Tallmadge, "The Farmers' and Merchants' Bank of Columbus, Wisconsin," Western Architect, XXIX, July 1920, 23.
Tallmadge
July
23
XXIX
Western Architect
1920
Sullivan's Henry C. Adams Building, Algona, Iowa (1913)
Purdue State Bank, West Lafayette, Indiana (1914)
Weingarden, Louis H. Sullivan, 10-12
Weingarden
10
Louis H. Sullivan
42
Louis Sullivan to John D. Van Allen, 6 June 1913. Burnham Library, Art Institute of Chicago.
43
Louis Sullivan to John D. Van Allen, 11 January 1912. Burnham Library, Art Institute of Chicago
45
Rebori, "An Architecture of Democracy," 437.
Rebori
437
An Architecture of Democracy
46
Louis Sullivan to John D. Van Allen, 13 January 1912; 20 February 1912
10 April 1912
24 April 1912
7 May 1912. Burnham Library, Art Institute of Chicago
47
Louis Sullivan to John D. Van Allen, 21 November 1911. Burn- ham Library, Art Institute of Chicago
48
Reboti, "An Architecture of Democracy," 438.
Reboti
438
An Architecture of Democracy
49
Clinton Daily Advertiser, 29 September 1914, 9.
29 September
9
Clinton Daily Advertiser
1914
50
"New Van Allen Building," Clinton Herald, 30 April 1913, 7.
30 April
7
Clinton Herald
1913
51
Louis Sullivan to John D. Van Allen, 20 January 1912. Burnham Library, Art Institute of Chicago
Menocal, Architecture as Nature, 169
Menocal
169
Architecture as Nature
Siry, Carson Pirie Scott, 99-101
Siry
99
Carson Pirie Scott
53
Louis Sul- livan, 194-197
194
Louis Sullivan
Condit, Chicago School, 125, 141-142
Condit
125
Chicago School
Twombly, Louis Sullivan, 350-353
Twombly
350
Louis Sullivan
Jordy, "The Tall Buildings," 137-138
Jordy
137
The Tall Buildings
Siry, Carson Pirie Scott, 83-85
Siry
83
Carson Pirie Scott
Brooks, The Prairie School, 233-234
Brooks
233
The Prairie School
Twombly, Louis Sullivan, 419
Twombly
419
Louis Sullivan
Jordy, "The Tall Build- ings," 140
Jordy
140
The Tall Buildings
54
Vincent Scully, "Louis Sullivan's Architectural Orna- ment: A Brief Note Concerning Humanistic Design in the Age of Force," Perspecta, V, 1959, 77-7810.2307/1566883
77
Jordy, "Functionalism as Fact and Symbol," 156-158
Jordy
156
Functionalism as Fact and Symbol
Menocal, Architecture as Nature, 68-69
Menocal
68
Architecture as Nature
55
"Gage Brothers' Building for McCormick Estate, Chicago," Inland Architect and News Record, XXXIII, March 1899, 20
March
20
XXXIII
Inland Architect and News Record
1899
56
Economist, XXV, 30 March 1901, 371
30 March
371
XXV
Economist
1901
XXVII, 20 March 1902, 397
XXVIII, 27 September 1902, 433
XXIX, 21 February 1903, 243
The Gage, Autumn 1901
Autumn
The Gage
1901
Spring 1903
57
Louis Sullivan to John D. Van Allen and Son, 26 February 1913 Burnham Library, Art Institute of Chicago.
58
Clinton County Historical Society, History of Clinton County, 144-145
Clinton County Historical Society
144
History of Clinton County
Lincoln Highway Association, The Lincoln Highway, New York, 1935
Lincoln Highway Association
The Lincoln Highway
1935
59
"Gateway of Corn, Hog, and Cattle Belt," Clinton Herald, 29 April 1913, 5
29 April
5
Clinton Herald
1913
Long and Erickson, Clinton, 92
92
60
Clinton County Historical Society, History of Clinton County Iowa, 151
Clinton County Historical Society
151
History of Clinton County Iowa
Charles P. Chase, "Clinton Industrial Survey" (1917), op. cit., 148-149
Chase
Clinton Industrial Survey
148
History of Clinton County Iowa
61
Clinton County Historical Society, History of Clinton County Iowa, 143-145
Clinton County Historical Society
143
History of Clinton County Iowa
"The Community Plan of the Clinton Commercial Club," Merchants Trade Journal, XIV, December 1912, 5-6
December
5
XIV
Merchants Trade Journal
1912
"Com- mercial Club Directors Meet," Clinton Herald, 2 May 1912, 5
2 May
5
Clinton Herald
1912
"Agri- cultural Work of Club and Crop Adviser Reviewed," ibid., 13 February 1913, 4
13 February
4
Clinton Herald
1913
"Gives Boost to Commercial Club," ibid., 5 December 1913,9
5 December
9
Clinton Herald
1913
62
"The Community Plan of the Clinton Commercial Club," Mer- chants Trade Journal, XIV, December 1912, 5
December
5
XIV
Merchants Trade Journal
1912
"Owa- tonna and the Farmer," Merchants Trade Journal, XVI, March 1915, 28, 46
March
28
XVI
Merchants Trade Journal
1915
63
Jordy, "The Tall Buildings," 141.
Jordy
141
The Tall Buildings
64
Phil H. Feddersen, "John D. Van Allen Store, Clinton, Iowa," and letter to author, 30 November 1987.
Feddersen
John D. Van Allen Store, Clinton, Iowa
65
Sharon S. Darling, Chicago Ceramics and Glass: An Illustrated History from 1871 to 1933, Chicago, 1979, 181-184, 199
Darling
181
Chicago Ceramics and Glass: An Illustrated History from 1871 to 1933
1979
66
John D. Van Allen applied for membership in the Holland So- ciety of New York, 10 August 1908
R. Amerman on the ancestry and coat of arms of the Van Allen family, 17 September 1963. Library, Holland Society of New York, New York City
Helen Reynolds, Dutch Houses in the Hudson Valley Before 1776, New York, 1929, 104-105
Reynolds
104
Dutch Houses in the Hudson Valley Before 1776
1929
Hugh Morrison, Early American Architecture, New York, 1952, 112
Morrison
112
Early American Architecture
1952
Ruth Piwonka and Roderic H. Blackburn, A Visible Heritage: Columbia County New York, A History in Art and Archi- tecture, Kinderhook, N.Y., 1977, 33-35
Piwonka
33
A Visible Heritage: Columbia County New York, A History in Art and Architecture
1977
67
John D. Van Allen and Son Building, "Drawings of Fourth Story Lintel Course and Cartouches," Burnham Library Architectural Micro- filming Project, Roll No. 37, Frame 159
Van Allen
Drawings of Fourth Story Lintel Course and Cartouches
68
Louis Sullivan to the American Terra Cotta and Ceramic Com- pany, 24 April 1913
William Purcell, typescript entitled "Louis H. Sullivan-Van Allen and Co., Clinton, Iowa," 9 October 1940, 2
Purcell
2
Louis H. Sullivan-Van Allen and Co., Clinton, Iowa
1940
Letter to author, 12 June 1989
69
Wim de Wit, "The Banks and the Image of Progressive Banking," in Wim de Wit, ed., Louis Sullivan, 161-166
de Wit
The Banks and the Image of Progressive Banking
161
Louis Sullivan
Weingarden, Louis H. Sullivan, 23. On the civic commitment of merchants
Weingarden
23
Louis H. Sullivan
"The Community Plan of the Clinton Commercial Club," Merchants Trade Journal, XIV, December 1912, 5
December
5
XIV
Merchants Trade Journal
1912
"The Man and His Town," ibid., XV, November 1914,40
November
40
XV
Merchants Trade Journal
1914
"The Retail Merchant's Place in the Community," ibid., XIV, January 1913, 46-47
January
46
XIV
Merchants Trade Journal
1913
70
Montgomery Schuyler, "The People's Savings Bank of Cedar Rapids, Iowa," Architectural Record, XXXI, January 1912, 44-56.
Schuyler
January
44
XXXI
Architectural Record
1912
71
Louis Sullivan, Democracy: A Man-Search (1908), Detroit, 1961, 103-104.
Sullivan
103
Democracy: A Man-Search (1908)
1961
72
Leland L. Sage, A History of Iowa, Ames, Iowa, 1974, 3.
Sage
3
A History of Iowa
1974
73
Louis Sullivan, letter to Claude Bragdon, 25 July 1904, in Claude Bragdon, "Letters from Louis Sullivan," Architecture, LXIV, July 1931, 8.
Bragdon
July
8
LXIV
Architecture
1931
74
Donald D. Egbert, The Beaux-Arts Tradition in French Architecture, Princeton, 1980, 122-124.
Egbert
122
The Beaux-Arts Tradition in French Architecture
1980
75
Sullivan, "The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered" (1896), in Kindergarten Chats, 208.
Sullivan
The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered
208
Kindergarten Chats
76
Sullivan, "Lighting the People's Savings Bank," 635.
Sullivan
635
Lighting the People's Savings Bank
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