Datebook: April 13 - J.C. Penney Opens First Store 110 Years Ago

Apr 13, 2012

James Cash Penney, Jr. was an American businessman and entrepreneur best known for founding J.C. Penney stores. Penney began working for a chain of stores in the northwest in 1898. The owners were so impressed by his work ethic, they offered him partnership in a new store. In 1902 (at the age of 27), he invested $2,000 (roughly $50,000 today), in a store in Kemmerer, Wyoming. By 1907, his partnerships dissolved and he had full ownership of three stores. By 1912, he ran 34 stores, and set up headquarters in Salt Lake City. By 1924, his annual income was more than one million dollars. He lived lavishly and gave large amounts to charity... until 1929. The crash left Penney in financial ruin. He checked himself into a sanitarium, and became a born-again Christian. In 1940, he trained a young Sam Walton how to wrap packages with minimal amount of ribbon. He remained chairman of the board, and honorary chairman, until his death in 1971.

It’s Friday, April 13

The Mutt Strut 5K run and 1-mile dog walk will be tomorrow morning.  Meet at the Murray State University gates at the corner of 15th and Olive.  The 5K starts at 8:30, and the dog walk starts at 9:30.  All proceeds go to the Humane Society of Calloway County and the Animal Health Technology Pre-Vet Club.  See details at

Pianist Angela Wu will give a faculty recital tomorrow evening in the Performing Arts Hall, located on the second floor of the Old Fine Arts Building on the campus of Murray State.  The all-Chopin program features selections from the Preludes and the four Ballades.  The free recital begins at 7:30. 

The U.S. Forest Service is holding a photo contest celebrating America’s urban and community forests.  The contest runs through July 22 and seeks to highlight the natural beauty of neighborhoods, communities, and cities.  The grand prize winner receives $200 in outdoor gear.  Find contest rules online at

Learn more about community events at