Honoring our founder, the iconic statue of James Cash Penney was unveiled and dedicated on Saturday, Aug. 28 in Kemmerer, Wyoming, near the location of his first Golden Rule Store in 1902.
Standing Where It All Began 119 Years Ago
This past weekend, the beloved bronze statue of our founder was unveiled at its new permanent home in Kemmerer, Wyoming, during the community’s first annual Golden Rule Days celebration. Standing 9 feet 4 inches tall and weighing 3,500 pounds, the James Cash Penney statue was donated to the City of Kemmerer in 2020 after residing in the former Plano Home Office for nearly 30 years.
Mayor of Kemmerer William J. Thek said, “We are excited to welcome the statue of James Cash Penney to the Company’s birthplace in Kemmerer, Wyoming. Its location in Triangle Park will be a focal point for the rich history of this American retail icon joining the Golden Rule Store, the JCPenney Home and Museum, and the active JCPenney retail ‘mother store.’”
A Homecoming Celebration
The day was filled with stories of James Cash Penney’s unwavering integrity and how he consistently overcame hardship to realize his retail dream. Agricultural Research Librarian David Kruger from the University of Wyoming led guests on a historical downtown walking tour, with stops at the site where the first Golden Rule Store was established in 1902, the second Golden Rule Store built in late 1903, the JCPenney Homestead Museum, and the JCPenney “mother store” in operation since 1929.
Among the hundreds of attendees, special guests included three grandchildren of James Cash Penney, City of Kemmerer Mayor and City Council members, Lincoln County Commissioners, Wyoming State Legislators, JCPenney corporate and stores representatives, and members of JCPenney H.C.S.C. (Honor, Confidence, Service, and Cooperation) National Alumni Club, including former JCPenney chairman and CEO W.R. Howell.
The dedication ceremony honored the JCPenney Homestead Museum where James Cash Penney and his family once resided. The JCPenney Communities Foundation donated $20,000 to ensure that the Homestead can continue to serve thousands of visitors to Kemmerer each year and share the legacy of our founder. Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed a community picnic with a live band, organized and sponsored by the City of Kemmerer, H.C.S.C., and local organizations.
“The years James Cash Penney spent in Kemmerer are etched in this town’s history,” said Kevin Updegrove, sr. director, communications, talent acquisition, inclusion & diversity, philanthropy, who attended the event. “It is clear from the outpouring of support that our founder had an indelible impact. We are grateful to the City of Kemmerer and its residents for being such great stewards of our Company history.”
Check out photos from the event below.