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In 1911, David May had a mansion built in North Avondale at 3723 Washington Avenue. A successful business owner, May joined the other prominent, rich Cincinnatians who moved to the neighborhood to build their own homes. May's 7,617-square-foot mansion was originally placed on 11 acres of land. Today, it's a 5-bedroom, 3.1-bathroom house with a variety of historic features that ended up landing it on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. Those features include everything from a Rookwood tile solarium to elegant wood paneled fireplaces. At the time of this writing, it's also on the market for $959,000. ADDRESS: 3723 Washington Avenue (45229) / Image courtesy of Justin Sheldon Photography // Published: 4.26.19

Inside the Jaw-Dropping, Historic May Mansion

North Avondale is one of those neighborhoods you want to walk through to fully appreciate all the incredible residential architecture it contains.

At the turn of the 20th century, rich Cincinnati business owners moved away from the city's center to purchase large tracts of land upon which to build their mansions. Though the fortune-hungry proprietors have since passed away, their homes continue to stand. Those left have become today's irresistible fodder for neck-craning and very slow drive-by gawking. Those with a camera, a foot off the pedal, and an inability to feel awkwardness staring at someone’s house from the street leave North Avondale with a collection of beautiful photos to show their friends.

One of those properties—3723 Washington Avenue—undoubtedly ends up on the camera roll of everyone who walks past it. And how could you blame them? Look at that photo at the top of the page and check out the gallery up there while you're at it. They were made by extremely talented local photographer Justin Sheldon. Go on. We'll wait.


Incredible, right? Yeah. You get it now.

David May, President of the May Stern & Co. that was formerly at 5th and Elm Streets downtown, was the uber-successful businessman who had the house built in 1911. Colloquially referred to as the May Mansion, 3723 Washington is a home that purposefully draws the eye—because that's kind of what it was designed to do from the beginning. You don't think Dave had that gorgeous Italian Renaissance masterpiece built solely for function, did you?

No. Not every house needs a Rookwood tile solarium. The May Mansion has one, though. Not every house needs a grand staircase made of carved oak, or an Italian marble vestibule entry to make a solid first impression on the green-with-envy neighbors. But that's how the May Mansion rolls. Covered porticos, cascading fountains, formal gardens, and detached carriage houses aren't typically on the manifest of must-haves for your average family bungalow, but you know what I'm getting at. (The May Mansion has all of it.)

I mean, you saw those photos two paragraphs ago. I'm not telling you anything you don't already know at this point. One thing you might not know, though, is that the house is so stunning and important to the fabric of the neighborhood, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.

Let that sink in. While doing so, and in the event you haven't made your way to that above photo gallery yet, let me break down the details about 3723 Washington Avenue for you:

  • 5 bedrooms
  • 3 full bathrooms and 1 half-bathroom
  • 7,617 square feet of May Mansion to enjoy
  • The aforementioned Rookwood tile solarium and the other decorative, unique features mentioned above
  • A separate carriage house with a full gym
  • English Wedgwood door knobs
  • Detailed millwork and elegant wood paneled fireplaces
  • A plaster medallion ceiling
  • A slew of other amazing details worthy enough to earn it national recognition

Got all that? Good. All of this is to say the May Mansion is actually up for sale at the time of this writing. Reach into your pocket and pull out what you have. If it equals $959,000, contact the listing agent. They'll get you through the fairytale wrought iron gate and into your new historic home in no time.

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View the listing here.