A piece of Alexandria history was removed from the front of Past and Present Home Gallery in Downtown Alexandria.
A few weeks ago the owner of the building at 619 Broadway began work updating the front of Past and Present Home Gallery. In the process, store owners Jeff and Lynelle Lanoue were told that an old JCPenney’s sign had been found on the front of the store. The sign dates from the 1940s.
According to Lynelle, JCPenney’s opened in downtown Alexandria in 1927 and moved to the 619 Broadway location in 1940. When JCPenney’s moved to the Viking Plaza in 1978 they apparently left the old sign which was covered by a “new” tin front.
There have been inquiries about the old sign from as far away as Hamilton Missouri, where James Cash Penny was born. The JCPenney Library and Museum in Hamilton houses memorabilia and information about James Cash Penny and the chain of stores he built. The original JCPenney’s store opened in Kemmerer, Wyoming in 1902. The chain had expanded to 1600 stores by the early 1940s when the store in downtown Alexandria moved to its 619 Broadway location.
The sign is made of 9 separate metal pieces that were very securely fastened using screws, angle iron and supports. It was put into storage inside the store until it can be displayed at a later time. Lynelle Lanoue did say that “the sign will stay in town, it will stay with the building.”
Taking the sign down took only a few hours on Thursday morning, and now construction of the new front can begin.