The May Company


This photo provided courtesy of the Cleveland Press Archives.


The beautiful picture seen above is the first May Company in Cleveland. It was actually the E. R. Hull & Dutton Company until May Company bought Hull & Dutton in 1899. Interesting note…the building you see is actually on Ontario Street. It was not until 1901 that the May Company expanded onto Euclid Avenue at the site that you would see today. The building on Euclid Avenue went through many expansions until 1931, when the Cleveland May Company store was the largest department store in the state of Ohio. Mind-boggling considering the condition of the building today.

I can only imagine the majestic view of Euclid when May held court as the King of Department Stores along Euclid. A great view of the southeast corner of Public Square can be seen here.


This photo provided courtesy of the Cleveland Press Archives.


One can clearly see the May Company as the center piece of this photo with the Park Building to its right. Also, note the Williamson Building (with a Marshall’s Drug Store at the steet level) to the left of May Company – where now you would see the  BP Building. For my money – this view is much, much better than the one we have today. This is a gorgeous view.

The store was a leader in customer perks and amenities offering Eagle Trading Stamps, one of the first parking garages in the U.S., and a children’s indoor playground. I love the picture below that shows the women’s hat shop.


This photo provided courtesy of the Cleveland Press Archives.


Look how large this department was!  Beautiful design.  There was also a very famous restaurant inside the May Company as well.


This photo provided courtesy of the Cleveland Press Archives.

Anyway, the department store – like Cleveland – began to have some difficulties in the late 1970′s and early 1980′s.  In 1980, May Company subleased a number of floors to a local bank. What is fascinating is that this store was still producing revenues in the $200 million range in 1983. Yet, with the redevelopment of Tower City and the Galleria in the late 1980′s and early 1990′s – the store’s revenues began to falter. This beautiful store closed in 1993.



About Tech Czar
Former "Tech Czar" for the City of Cleveland, fascinated by the civic space, history (Cleveland & Military), entrepreneurship, social media, food and travel. My first book on Cleveland history will be published by History Press ( this fall.

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