When it comes to bragging about your hometown there always seems to be one claim-to-fame event, resident, or celebrity connection. No different than my hometown of Redfield, South Dakota.

The small northeast community once had a thriving downtown retail selection with shoe shops, furniture stores, barber shops, and restaurants. Now, not so much.

Redfield was the first town in South Dakota to have the iconic J.C. Penney department store. The grand displays of women's and men's clothing and home products made Mainstreet a popular destination for shopping.

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Thanks to the South Dakota Historical Society, I learned that soon after the opening of the first South Dakota location, J.C. Penney expanded to other cities from Spearfish to Sioux Falls. In all, shoppers would find 35 stores across the state that opened between 1916 and 1955.

Winner, South Dakota

South Dakota State Historical Society- Archives Department
South Dakota State Historical Society- Archives Department
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Yankton, South Dakota

South Dakota State Historical Society- Archives Department
South Dakota State Historical Society- Archives Department
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Hot Springs, South Dakota

South Dakota State Historical Society- Archives Department
South Dakota State Historical Society- Archives Department
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Watertown, South Dakota

South Dakota State Historical Society- Archives Department
South Dakota State Historical Society- Archives Department
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Rapid City, South Dakota

South Dakota State Historical Society- Archives Department
South Dakota State Historical Society- Archives Department
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Deadwood, South Dakota

South Dakota State Historical Society- Archives Department
South Dakota State Historical Society- Archives Department
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Minnesota's first J.C. Penney store was located in Bemidji opening in 1917.
By 1941, J. C. Penney operated 1,600 stores in all 48 states.

J.C. Penney would compete directly with other national department stores, particularly Sears, Roebuck and Co., and Montgomery Ward & Co. Each with its own catalog department.

The first J.C. Penney catalog was issued in 1963.

J.C.Penney reached its peak number of stores in 1973, with 2,053 stores, 300 of which were full-line establishments.

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