Oak Hall Ready-to-Wear Menswear, c. 1902

This is the interior of Oak Hall Clothiers at 333 Talbot Street in St. Thomas, Ontario, ca. 1902. The garments on the table are men’s jackets folded inside out in stacks, presumabley arranged by size. It’s not clear if this ‘Oak Hall’ was a Canadian subsidiary of the American company of the same name that also specialized in ready-to-wear men’s clothing and was founded in Memphis, Tennessee in 1859. It appears Canadian William Eli Sanford at least modelled his concept after the American company, which opened in Toronto and Hamilton in 1881. Later branches opened across Ontario, in St. Catharines (1888), London (1892), and Windsor (1895). The St. Thomas store, where this photo was taken, relocated in 1907 to a larger premises on the same street. I haven’t found any references to the company dating after 1915, and it appears they offered no catalogue sales.

2 thoughts on “Oak Hall Ready-to-Wear Menswear, c. 1902

  1. I know a little about Sanford because he lived here in Hamilton, where I live, and was very famous in his day. Reading “House of Seven Gables” today, I came across a passage reading “Oak Hall might have supplied his [a character’s] entire equipment”, equipment meaning clothing of a mediocre store-bought quality. I’m curious about the original Oak Hall (which seems to be the subject of Hawthorne’s reference) and would love to know more.

    • That’s interesting… it was most probably a ‘fast fashion’ equivalent in its day regarding quality.

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