May-D&F, Denver, Colorado

Read about the department storesthat once lined 16th Street in thisvery good new book

May-D&F was formed  by a merger of the May Company of Denver and Daniels & Fisher, which had previously occupied separate store buildings.  The dean of the University of Detroit School of Architecture, Bruno Leon, was responsible for the design of the new store, and said that the entrance structure, technically a "hyperbolic parabaloid," was designed to draw attention to the store's "trinkets."

May - D&F
Mile High Center (1957)
Denver, Colorado 80202  


Lower Level
Adventures Auditorium • May-D & F Budget Store

First Floor
Fine Jewelry • Fashion Jewelry • Watches • Handbags • Small Leather Goods • Gloves • Scarves • Fashion Accessories • Millinery • Sweaters • Blouses • Plaza Tops • Plaza Sportswear • Boulevard Shoes • Cosmetics • Notions • Stationery • Cameras • Luggage • Advanced Consumer Electronics • Candy
Men’s World Men’s Accessories • Men’s Furnishings • Men’s Shirts • Men’s Neckwear • Men’s Shoes • Men’s Hats • Men’s Clothing • Men’s Outerwear • The Court Shop • Mach 10 • Quad Shop • Mike’s Place

Second Floor
Boulevard Sportswear • Boulevard Dresses • Misses’ Sportswear • Misses’ Dresses • Fashion Plus • Contempo • Active Sportswear • Boulevard Coats • Misses’ Coats • Better Dresses • Better Coats • Young Collector • Young Signature • New Designer Dresses • New Designer Sportswear • The Designers • Forecast Shop • Fur Salon • Bridal Salon • Junior Dresses • Junior Sportswear • Junior Coats • Junior Lingerie • Foundations • Lingerie • Loungewear • Robes • Shoe Salon • Misses’ Shoes • Junior Shoes • Infants • Toddler Girls • Toddler Boys • Teens • Boys • Girls • Bronco Shop • Bronco Shop • Toys

Third Floor
China • Crystal • Silver • Glassware • Gifts • Tabletop • Caravan Shop • Linens • Bath Shop • Bedspreads • Draperies • Fashion Fabrics • Notions • Art Needlework • Housewares • Small Electrics • Vacuums • Clock Shop • Garden Shop • Hardware • Paints • Lamps • Pictures • Sound Sysytems • Televisions • Radios • Affordable Furniture • Dining Room Furniture • Living Room Furniture • Bedroom Furniture • Occasional Furniture • Recliners • Bedding • Trim-A-Home

Fourth Floor
Books • Sporting Goods • Gourmet • Lookout Room Restaurant • Credit Office • Cash Office • Beauty Salon


Colorado Springs (Giddings 1899/1950)
Chase Stone Center (1968)
97,000 sq. ft.

University Hills Center (1955)
183,000 sq. ft.

Westland Shopping Center (1960)
160,000 sq. ft.

Bear Valley Shopping Center (1965)
139,000 sq. ft.

North Valley Mall (1967)
141,000 sq. ft.

Foothills Mall (1974)
Ft. Collins
50,000 sq. ft.

Southglenn Mall (1974)
160,000 sq. ft.

Aurora Mall (1975)
115,000 sq. ft.


  1. My first job out of college, started a 30+ Retail journey there. Also met my wife!

  2. I worked at the downtown store straight out of college, too. That plaza area in front of the store used to be a skating rink.

  3. Stood in line as a little girl @ Christmas to view the amazing series of mechanical window displays!! Great childhood memory!

  4. I also remember the Christmas displays that went all around the outside of the May D&F store as being a Christmas highlight!!

  5. It's wonderful to highlight this store and its unique design, but the architect was I.M. Pei, not someone called Bruno Leon. At the time, he had yet to start his own firm or go on to world-wide renown (designer of the Louvre pyramid, among other works); he was an employee of Courthouse Square's developer, William Zeckendorf's Webb & Knapp. (Courthouse Square was the name of the two-block project that housed not only this store, but also a 700-room Hilton across Court Place.) The original department store tenant was to have been Daniels & Fisher, but Zeckendorf feared that with the rise of suburban centers that the downtown trade would decline, so he engineered the merger between May and D&F (at one point, it was nearly a three-way merger involving the Denver Dry Goods Co.). --Mark Barnhouse, author of Denver's Sixteenth Street (Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2010).

  6. I don't dispute that I. M. Pei was the architect of record, but anyone who has worked in a large-scale office knows that the principal does not do all of the design work in a firm: that's what a staff is for. Bruno Leon, the well-known dean of the University of Detroit School of Architecture, worked for the firm and had responsibility for the store building within the firm, in particular the area of the unique hyperbolic paraboloid pavilion. He had intimate knowledge of the design, down to the smallest of details, and related information about it to students at the school. I don't think it's a problem to give a little credit where credit is due.
    Another project of which he spoke was an unrealized plan to replace Grand Central Terminal in New York City with a building in the shape of a hyperboloid of one sheet, in my opinion, thankfully, never realized.
    I.M. Pei's firm realized many famous commissions in the 1970s and 1980s, and even later. Just for comic relief I will relate that young hopefuls that went to work for the firm called it "I-no-Pay!"


  7. I remember May D&F since I was a boy. It no longer exists today.

  8. I have recently come across a beautiful "small animal, actually three small animals" stole with the MAY-D&F logo label attached...coureous as to how old it is....if anyone knows anything about my furry find, please contact me at

  9. I used to work at 16th and Glenarm and shopped at this store all the time. They had great sales! Also loved their restaurant. It's too bad all the great department stores that used to be in Denver are gone.

  10. I worked at the Bear Valley branch when it first opened. Started out in Housewares and eventually became supervisor of China & Gifts. Those were the days when department stores sold everything. Notions, books, fabrics ... we even sold tulip bulbs. Hard to believe now. David Touff was our CEO, a true gentleman in the days when " the customer was always right." We wore black, navy blue, or gray dresses on the selling floor. Our main competitor was The Denver Dry Good Company. Amazing days, we just didn't know it then.

  11. My father designed the May D& F Shopping Center ,Denver Hilton and also was the Resident Architect for the project. The firm was Webb & Knapp. I was the first person to skate on the rink which was the first in downtown. I saw the blueprints to the hyperbolic paraboloid ,and as far as I know, since my dad told us he came up with the idea for it while at K.U.and I was there while it was being built so I don't understand how I.M. Pei, whom my dad had worked for after college is getting credit for this. That is not right. I challenge anyone to says that John Lo Pinto was not the Resident Architect on that.

  12. I worked at May D&F during the summer of 1979. The Denver Louie Restaurant was on the top floor. The buying offices were there at that time. All the sales associates including assistant buyers were to be on the sales floor between 11-2 to assist all the lunch time shoppers. I remember the budget store in the basement and all the stock rooms down there. It was kinda spooky. Also there was a door and a long hallway heading to a employee lounge. I believe at one time they had a cafeteria for the employees. It was between the Hilton and May D&F under the street. I remember the post office and a shoe/watch repair shop being there. I remember in the 80's May D& F hosted a Proud to be American theme, with replicas of the White House, a domino set up, Jelly Belly and a host of other displays. The store manager at that time was Robert Barnett. The department stores were grand back then.

  13. worked at the may for 7 years; met my wife there; 67 to 74 various exec jobs. nemiro was boss and ran it with iron hand. biggest show was the asian show in early seventies. nemiro and tanawakie and rhodes traveled the far east to line up acts and merch. can remember peggy fleming skating on ice there. also, opening of ft collins store.

  14. I started in the credit department in 1967 at the downtown May D&F. Lots of fond memories of working there and being downtown.

  15. I have a coat from my grandmother who purchased it from May D&F....the logo is hand-stitched inside the coat. There is nothing, absolutely nothing showing what it is made of, which is a disappointment, as I have no idea what the coat material is. The collar & cuffs are fur...real fur - but again unknown what animal.....and she has her initials that appear to be machine embroidered (each letter separately on a piece of material) that was also attached to the liner of the coat. I will probably have to take it to a materials expert to see what the coat is made of. I have had the coat since she passed away in 1984 at the age of 93. She stayed with her daughter (which was actually a niece) several months of the year, who lived in and near Denver, last address being on Lookout Mtn. It's unfortunate the store is not longer in operation, I would have loved to donate it to the stores archives.

  16. I worked in ladies hosiery on the main floor of the Denver store during 1972-73. I remember employees who got customers to sign up for a May D& F credit card were awarded a Denver mint silver dollar. Those were good days.

  17. There were also May D&F stores in Colorado Springs (The Citadel Mall and Chapel Hills Mall); Villa Italia, Lakewood, CO, Southwest Plaza, Littleton, CO and one in New Mexico.

  18. Such a beautiful store; a shame they took it down. What a concept, the roof at your fingertips as you entered. The stamp department was on the first floor. It was run by a very nice fellow, Jan - I forgot his last name.

  19. It is very unfortunate that Denver's grand architecture was plowed under like so many other cities in the name of progress.
    I too worked for May D&F from 1980-1984 at the Southglen Mall branch.
    My mother and Grand mother use to work for The Denver Dry Goods Co. years before, in the complaint/lost and found department. I remember the Christmas displays down town as a child and was so up-set when they tore it all down.
    I hope that city planners can learn from this that new is not always better and that a city's character is found in its past.

  20. Roxanne Godsey03 July, 2015 15:51

    Hi! I am doing some research regarding the Merci Train ( This 'train' consisted of 49 boxcars filled with mementos of thanks from the people of France in thanks for America sending supplies after WWII. There was a boxcar for each state at the time with Hawaii & Washington D.C. sharing a car. (Hawaii & Alaska were not yet states but Hawaii donated many tons of sugar.)

    The reason for my post is that we have discovered that May had window displays of the artifacts sent to Colorado for approximately one week (roughly February 16th-25th, 1949) before they were dispersed throughout the state. I am hoping to track down photos, memories, etc. of this event and came across this website. I know that May is now part of Macy's and will sending them a letter, but anyone here possibly have memories/photos of this event?! Thanks for your time! Roxanne

  21. I remember when my sister and I were little and would go to Denver to visit grandma in the late 50's and 60's. Grandma worked at the MD&F store. At Christmas time, we would get our picture taken with Santa and get to go to the toy floor and look around on our own while Mom and Grandma did their shopping. (Boy that is a NO NO now days isn't it!) Also remember the ice skating rink and all the neat display windows for Christmas.

    Have been going through some of Mom's stuff and found a MD&F pin that says 10yrs. on it. I know Grandma worked there longer than 10 yrs so don't know if they gave pins periodically. Anyway, does any one know if there is a collector of MD&F stuff?


  22. I worked at the University Hills store and then to the giant warehouse in Denver. The warehouse was huge. They unloaded train cars indoors and the truck docks handled about a dozen semis simultaneously. We rode bicycles to get across the huge expanse. It was an amazing experience.

  23. Under branch offices, why are you missing so many? There were May D&F's at Cinderella City in Englewood, Villa Italia in Lakewood (replaced a Broadway Southwest), Southwest Plaza in Littleton, Chapel Hills in Colorado Springs and I swear there was even one in Albuquerque, NM.

    1. There was a May D & F at the Citadel from 1984-1994 when it became foleys. There was never one at Chapel Hills. I worked at the one at the Citadel in 1987.

  24. The time frame I favor is up to 1980, as department stores began to consolidate and lose theie individual and local flavor. If these stores were acquired from other chains that originally opened them, and they were built before 1980, they are covered under the original owners' exhibits. I may include information about "later" branches and acquisitions when I write capsule histories to accompany the images on this site. That time-consuming process is in progress, but may take some time yet.
    - Bruce

  25. According to the Denver directories I've been able to find, my great-grandfather worked as a salesman at May Co. in the 1930s and early 40s in Denver. I am assuming that May Co in the directory refers to this department store. Does anyone know where the store was located? Of if the building is still standing?

  26. Denver's May Co was merged with Daniels & Fisher in 1957. The old May Co. store (remodeled and added to several times) was located at 16th and Champa streets. Both stores were closed when the new May-D&F store was opened in 1958.


  27. Marcia Kramer17 July, 2016 17:56

    My first job was in 1971, at the University Hills store, in the watch repair department, which as I recall was located in the basement near toys and under the escalator. Watches with batteries were brand new back them and I got really good at changing them.

  28. I worked at the Downtown store briefly and have wonderful memories during that time... I remember watching a scene Ice Castles being filmed on the ice rink one night after work... my coworkers and I used to treat our selves on payday by having lunch in the Lookout Room or across the street at The Hilton Hotel lobby restaurant.

  29. Visited the store may times during 1961 and again in 1963 while stationed at Lowry AFB. Loved the western wear section and especially wanted to buy a genuine Stetson western hat. Did not obtain one as the cheapist one was $10.98 which was too rich for me back then.

  30. I worked for May D and F stores from September 1976 to May 1995.
    The last purpose built store was Cherry Creek in 1990. I was the VP and store manager.
    It was the 10 th highest volume store in the chain nationally, and at one time the highest grossing store of any kind in Colorado. The local president was Joe Davis until it was taken over by Foleys
    Do you have a physical museum? I have many mementos I would love to get to someone.

    1. Hi Joanne! CAn you please email me at Thank you.

    2. Joanne-
      I must know you. I was at D&F from '76 to '84. Two years in visual - then 6 years as communication. I produced slide shows and published the Nugget. Worked for Kathy Turner and Carol Strain. Great experience. My office was always Downtown. A shame the store is gone. T.Buel

  31. Inwprkedmfor May D & F and Foleys from 1976 to 1995. The largest store they had was
    Cherry Creek Mall built in 1990. At one time it was the highest volume store in Colorado of any kind and the top five sales per square foot in the country. We had 400 employees! Remember how we packed in the merchandise so tightly that people could barely get between the racks.? Does anyone want
    May D & F memorabilia before I have to throw it away?

  32. I'd like any of your May D&F memorabilia if you plan on throwing it away. My Mom worked for the store I believe from 1964 thru 1969. She was the button lady. She primarily worked at the downtown store in notions. I spent may days being quiet sitting at the pattern tables looking at all the McCalls and Buttericks pattern books while she worked replacing all the buttons on the racks. She traveled to the Westland, Bear Valley and University stores doing the buttons as well. Wonderful memories of all the beautiful Christmas decorations, the skating rink and the food at the resturant. I remember sneaking up to the beauty salon and watched as the ladies would get their hair done. I still have a doll my Mom bought me for my 4th birthday from the toy dept. It was very grand back then, they even had an elevator man to assist you getting to your floor. Please contact me about your items at:, thank you.

  33. I'd like any of your May D&F memorabilia if you plan on throwing it away. My Mom worked for the store I believe from 1964 thru 1969. She was the button lady. She primarily worked at the downtown store in notions. I spent may days being quiet sitting at the pattern tables looking at all the McCalls and Buttericks pattern books while she worked replacing all the buttons on the racks. She traveled to the Westland, Bear Valley and University stores doing the buttons as well. Wonderful memories of all the beautiful Christmas decorations, the skating rink and the food at the resturant. I remember sneaking up to the beauty salon and watched as the ladies would get their hair done. I still have a doll my Mom bought me for my 4th birthday from the toy dept. It was very grand back then, they even had an elevator man to assist you getting to your floor. Please contact me about your items at:, thank you.

  34. Loved this store, I worked in the Credit Dept in the late 60s as a Credit Authorizor working nights till I believe 9p. I remember as a huge office with U shape of file cabinets containing all of our customer's credit accounts. Stores would call for credit authorization - remember running from cabinet to cabinet. There were two of us - remember being instructed after our shift to walk without stopping down the escalators to the exit door where a guard would sign us out. Growing up in Nebraska, we always traveled to Denver to buy our school clothes, remember staying at the Cory Hotel. Good Memories

  35. I started as a salesperson in major appliances in the Downtown store in about 1976. My boss was Peter Parker, a sharp businessman, and "wheeler-dealer." His boss, whose name I forget, was a crook who used to take all sorts of goodies "under the table" to allow certain vendors special deals. I eventually became the major-appliances manager of the Westland store where, for the first time, a branch store actually beat the downtown store in sales for the Christmas season. When my promised promotion and pay-raise was again delayed until March, I told the Westland store manager that he was a liar and that he could go to hell - and I quit.

    Pete Parker, who was a straight-shooter, called me and hired me back as a junior manager to the downtown store where I stayed until I resigned.

    There wasn't a lot of money to be made in retail in those days unless you were an officer in the company, or a crook!

  36. I had hoped there might be more pictures, especially of the priceless miniature Christmas display at the downtown store......very special childhood memories!

  37. And I remember the doorman that was there for quite a few years. He must have been over 7 feet tall.

  38. worked at the Citadel location in 1987. Children's department.


Comments - Please do not comment more than once. Your comment must be approved before it is posted.