Today the Shirt Factory is an on-going evolution. The building as you see it today is not the result of a magical, over night transformation, it has been a slow, gradual process. The path to where we are now was not mapped out ahead, nor is our future, we are open to adapting to the world, being directed by passion and following dreams.

It all began in 1996 when the current owner visited the property for an auction and fell in love. He began work to preserve the building, which had begun to show signs of neglect and abandonment.

It would be three years before his purchase of the property was finalized. His intention at that time was to move his machine shop here. Once he began advertising space for rent, the responses were not primarily industrial, as he had imagined, but local artists. 


Attracted by the natural light and inexpensive rent, artists of all kinds began began pouring in, bringing with them ideas, passion, and energy.

The building was divided up piecemeal according the needs of those early tenants. This piecemeal approach created a maze here that can be equally frustrating and exciting!

Early tenants requested large open spaces. A few of these studios remain today, but the recent demand has been for smaller spaces. In response, many of those large spaces have been broken into smaller studios.

Today the building features 77 unique studios, home to more than 100 different individuals. With so many people in one location, the building offers a wide range of opportunities for visitors!

Next door in The Shirt Factory Annex (on Curran Lane), you will also find a distiller, used record shop, Rockhill Bake House and Dakine Cuisine.

Read what others are saying

One woman’s recollections of working at The McMullen-Leaven’s Factory:

Seamstress reflects on 80-year career, where she rubbed elbows with stars, The Post-Star, December 2014

About this old factory’s transformation and it’s role in the community: