Name: May Company Department Store, Former
Address: 555 Washington Avenue
Architectural Firm/Architect: Lee,Annan, Miller, Hatch,
Standard Architectural Styles: Italianate
Front facade: Iron, cast
Property Type Codes: Commercial building, business district
Designation: City Landmark, National Register of Historic Places,
The Old May Company Department Store is actually a complex of several structures, beginning with the Bradford-Martin Building.
"The complex of buildings on Washington and Lucas Avenues now commonly known as "The Dollar Store" was built in stages between circa 1875 and 1905. In spite of years of neglect, the complex--first joined under one roof by the May Company in 1905--is of preeminent architectural significance as the only remaining Commercial Palace from the years of St. Louis´ most dramatic growth. Although the basic building material in the complex is brick, the elevations on Washington Avenue are Bedford stone (painted) and cast iron. Stories range from five to seven but the overall height of the complex is approximately 80 feet throughout. The monumental entrance bay from 1898 enhanced the Washington Avenue façade; the first story store-front modifications are non-contributing." [From the nomination to the National Register of Historic Places as prepared by Carolyn Hewes Toft, executive director, April, 1983.]
It was built in 1875 by Francis D. Lee and Thomas B. Annan for Bradford Bros. and Lindsley & Orr, and was occupied by D. Crawford & Co. from around 1897 to 1903, when Crawford was bought out by the May Company.
On its east side stood the 1876 Finney Building . In 1898, they were combined into a new mercantile "palace" by St. Louis architects Weber and Groves who also added the monumental glass-domed entrance.
David May of the May Company, owner of the largest retail company in the U.S., purchased the building in 1904 and enlarged it by incorporating the Meyer-Bannerman building (1888) behind it and adding an addition. After the May Company moved to the Railway Exchange building in 1913, the building was subdivided.[p. 32]
In the 1970s, both Washington Avenue and the building had begun to deteriorate. At this point, the building was known as the "Dollar Store." It was restored in 1987 for offices.
site was made possible by: the City of St. Louis Planning and Urban Design Agency and