Statement of Significance (as of designation - June 2, 1978):
James Cash Penney stands tall in the history of American retailing. Although not the first to establish a chain of department stores, he was the first to do so on a national scale. It started in Kemmerer in 1902, when he opened his Golden Rule Emporium. Handling only merchandise that had a general demand and selling only for cash (it was, after all, his middle name), Penney achieved great success and soon expanded operations to other small towns. By 1928, the J.C. Penney Company had 1,023 stores across the country. This district inlcudes the Golden Rule Store and the small frame cottage where the Penneys lived from 1901 to 1909.