J. C. Penney Company

J.C. Penney's.

The first J. C. Penney store in Fargo opened in April 1914. At that time the store was called the Golden Rule store, and it remained under that name until about 1920, when it changed to the J. C. Penney Company. The first location only had 25 feet of frontage at 228 Broadway. In 1919, the store moved to the Magill Block at 5 South Broadway, just south of the N.P. Railroad tracks. In 1926, the store relocated again to just north of the railroad tracks at 3 to 7 Broadway. Ten years later the store expanded to occupy the lower level of the Hotel Dacotah at 1 Broadway. In 1952, the company leased the S. & L. Store located just to the north at 9 Broadway. At that time the company completed a major face lift that cost nearly $175,000. After all the expansions the J. C. Penney store had 30,000 feet of floor space. When the store opened in Fargo in 1914, it had five employees; by 1952, there were 75 regular employees.
When West Acres shopping center was built in 1972, most of the downtown Fargo department stores left, or went out of business. Various city agencies including the parking authority, city commission, and the urban renewal agency, tried to get the company to remain downtown. But eventually it left downtown for West Acres in June 1978. The downtown building was torn down on June 24, 1980.

Fargo and Moorhead City Directory. Fargo, 1881-1927.
"The Golden Rule store to start" Fargo Forum and Daily Republican (6 March 1914): 7.
Polk’s Fargo and Moorhead City Directories. St. Paul, MN: R.L. Polk and Company“Penny store to open soon, new location on Broadway virtually ready for occupancy” Fargo Forum and Daily Tribune (2 July 1926): 7.
“J. C. Penney Company completes $175,000 face lift” Fargo Forum and Daily Tribune (24 Sept. 1952): 20.
“Penny firm to relocate in West Acres center” The Forum (3 March 1977): 1.
“Razing of Penny’s building hard to take for one Fargoan” The Forum (24 June. 1980): 1.