"The Most Interesting Trip I Have Ever Taken Among the Stores." James Cash Penney's Return to Wyoming in the Great Depression
journal contributionposted on 01.01.2014, 00:00 by David Delbert Kruger
While the genesis of J.C. Penney stores in Wyoming is well known and documented, far less attention has been paid to James Cash Penney's return visits after his company became a national department store chain. The Wyoming aspects of Penney's life seemingly dissipated in 1909, when he moved his family and business headquarters from Kemmerer to Salt Lake City before permanently relocating to New York City in 1914. To say that Penney merely "moved on” after leaving Wyoming is an understatement. Within twenty years, he had amassed a fortune of $40 million, overseeing fourteen hundred department stores bearing his name across the United States. Yet, when the crisis of the Great Depression nearly destroyed him, Penney found solace by personally returning to where his company began, visiting employees, customers, and local residents.