Wednesday, September 28, 2011

When It Was Penneys

For most of their first sixty years of existence, the signs out front read “J.C. Penney Company” or “J.C. Penney Co.” in “black and mustard yellow“ as Time Magazine described them in 1965. Straightforward and prosaic these signs were, with the exception of some nice deco versions in the 1940’s. From 1971 until earlier this year, it was “JCPenney” in Helvetica, a much-loved classic in its own right. And just recently the logo has been tweaked, in an understandable way for understandable reasons.

But from 1963 to 1971, a snazzy, remarkable, highly individualistic logo took center stage, and even the name took on a new form – “Penneys”. Sure, the word “Penney’s” (in standard letters, with an apostrophe) had been used from time to time previously, on the odd blade sign here, the occasional newspaper ad or gift box there, but the new Penneys logo would be emblazoned on everything – traditional company products like clothing, sheets and towels, new offerings such as car batteries, stereos and sporting goods, and the cover of the newly-launched Penneys catalog. And on the stores themselves, of course.

The new logo, part of a “total graphics design program”, was the creation of New York design firm Peter Schladermundt Associates, who worked to achieve the following objectives, outlined in a February 1964 Chain Store Age article: “The Penney trademark would have to exude fashion, hint at broader merchandise interests and expanded consumer services, larger, more exciting stores (and) appeal to a more sophisticated ‘self-service’ shopper”. After coming up with several preliminary designs, they arrived at the perfect “P” – a black vertical “strength, durability” with a blue “cool color, for permanency” curved section “fashion flair, dynamic feeling of future”. The rest of the letters were designed in like fashion.

Late-term baby boomers like me (who to this day call the place “Penneys”) tend to look back at this logo with great fondness for a number of reasons. For many of us, it’s the earliest one we remember – in my case at the Golf Mill Shopping Center in Niles, Illinois. The short tenure of the logo is probably another factor – it’s truly a “sixties thing”. But most of all, it was just so cool looking! This admiration is by no means limited to over-40 folks however, as evidenced by the affectionate nickname the logo has picked up in recent years – the “Funky P”. (Although if you ask me, the whole thing is funky. Just saying.)

Getting back to the company’s newest logo, the all lower-case “jcpenney”, I don’t think it’s bad at all by current standards. Will it last as long as the “Funky P” did? I’m not sure – attention spans are kind of short these days. As long as the 1971 logo? Not a chance. But they can always go the “funky” route next time!

The publicity photo above, from 1964, depicts the inside entrance of the Penneys store at the Shepherd Mall in Oklahoma City, which opened in November of that year. Below, shown here by the kind permission of Chain Store Age magazine, are two graphics - the first showing some interesting experimental versions of the new Penney logo, the second showing the final version, with notes by designer Schladermundt. I think they made the right choice, don’t you?


  1. Love your blog as always!

    Interestingly, the downtown JCPenney store in Salt Lake City, Utah, which was built in the early-to-mid '60s wore the cool 'Penneys' logo that is the focus of your article for its entire life, until it was closed and demolished to put up an office building in 1990. It was never 'upgraded' to the 1971 logo. I wonder if any other Penneys stores could make that claim.

    Also, J.C. Penney owned a home in Salt Lake City around 1915 after the corporate HQ was moved there. I was in that home several times in the '80s, as one of my good friends lived there.

    Dave in Salt Lake City

  2. As usual a great article on a great topic!

  3. Kyle S. - Westerville Oh.September 29, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    The "Funky P" is my favorite Penneys logo, even though it was already scarce by my earliest memories of visiting malls, which would have been 1978.

    If you don't mind horror movies, check out Romero's "Dawn of the Dead". It was filmed at Monroeville Mall in Pennsylvania in 1977, and it's Penney's store still sports the "Funky P" signage. It's truly a time capsule of how malls looked in the mid 70s.


  4. Always thought it was funny that the JCPenney in the shuttered Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, IL was updated with new signage just for the Blues Brothers movie, rather than leaving the "Funky P" logo up!

  5. The Penney's at Yorktown Mall in Lombard IL had the 60's logo/name outdoors from 1968, when the mall opened, well past '71. [til maybe 1991-95?] The signs inside the mall were updated in the early 80's, though.

    Finally changed the outdoor signs to 'JC Penney' after maybe 20 some years. But I think the outside entrance doors kept with the 'P' somewhat longer.

  6. Well, we probably won't have to see the old logo on the stores much longer. When JCPenney unveiled the new logo back in February, they said in the press release that they plan to replace "external store signage" over the next 3 years. We'll see.

  7. There were stores that kept the "Penneys" letting well into the '00s. "Penneys" was used pretty extensively in print ads and in clothing labels, etc. That may be why they were known as "Penneys" by people who'd never encountered them until they began opening in suburban plazas in the 50s.

    Their newest logo seems to have appeared apropos of nothing, unless they think it will reverse their sluggish recent sales.

  8. I have mentioned Penney's Springfield, MO location here before, so I won't go into much detail about it now. Penney's moved from the Public Square to the Battlefield Mall in 1970, when the mall opened. One of my earliest memories of the store, which it seemed like we visited all the time, is of that blue boomerang Penney's sign. The store was two floors, and faced the main entrance of the mall. So, it was very prominent. The Blue Boomerang sign was not only displayed above the front entrance inside the mall, but also on at least one of the outer walls of the building. The exterior signs were lit. I think the familiar signs were updated to the new look when the mall was expanded in 1982. I always thought the sign was great!

    Incidentally, when my parents were married in 1970, their china came from Penney's. I now posses their whole set of china. The individual pieces, most of them anyway, are stamped on the bottom with the great blue boomerang P! I guess they were calling at least their China dept. "Fashion Manor" at the time, as the phrase is set just below the iconic "P," along with the pattern name and "Japan." How great is it to have a set of dishes with this iconic logo!?

  9. If 1971 was the year was when they went to JCPenny, the Golf Mill location in Niles Il. had the Penny's logo way into the 80's if not longer.

  10. Nice. That pic actually reminds me of the one "Penney's" labeled store I knew of: the long-gone Tri-City Mall in Mesa, AZ, which retained the old logo for most of the signage even in the 80s.

  11. Hey, I like all the old logos better. The Funky P, the Montgomery Ward logo of the 60's, even the round Safeway S logo.

    I remember quite well the Penneys branded merchandise "Penncrest", etc. with the P logo.

    And Kyle S. is right about Dawn of the Dead.

  12. I know someone who referred to it as "Pennys"...Johnny, the fey airline operations minion in AIRPLANE!

    "It happened to Barbara Stanwyck"


  14. I'm the one who made the AIRPLANE! comment...don't know why I forgot my name.

  15. It seems to be a trend for retailers to go to lower case lettering for logos (e.g.the horrid new "sears" logo)...blame the internet for this. At least Penney differs with the red "jcp" box.

    The 60s logo reminds me of ribbons.

  16. Dave – Thanks for the kind words, glad you like this! There were a number of Penneys stores that kept the logo for years, until a major remodel or the store was closed. Dixie Square in the Chicago area is probably the most prominent example. Most were eventually replaced with the Helvetica logo, however.

    I can imagine the Penney home in Salt Lake City was pretty nice. Thanks again!

    Portland via Japan – Much appreciated!

    Kyle – It’s a great logo, for sure. I’m not a horror movie guy, but maybe I should try to find some YouTube clips where the “Funky P” is visible!

    Anonymous 1 – I don’t know the full story there – whether JCP wanted to maximize the advertising value of the logo in the movie and provided new signage for that purpose, or if the old lettering had already been taken down and discarded and something new was required. Perhaps a member of the “Dixie Square legion” can enlighten us here! ;)

    Tomcat – Yorktown Mall in the first five years or so was a true classic. Pictures of it are very hard to find!

    Michael D. – I can’t see why there would be any urgency to replace with the new design at all – the change just isn’t that extensive! Seems more appropriate with a full facade upgrade or as a maintenance replacement.

    Anonymous 2 – Although Penneys signs stayed on the stores in some cases for years, the replacement of Penneys with JCPenney everywhere else – labels, print ads, TV, etc., was very swift and complete by the end of ’71. The Penneys name has lived on by nostalgia or force of habit, in my opinion. :)

    I’m not sure what they think the new logo will do for them.

    Mike – I like the “blue boomerang” description! The Battlefield Mall location you describe sounds like a very nice store.

    And I’d take the “P” logo china over Lenox any day! ;)

    MIKE (in capital letters) – The Golf Mill “Penneys” logo lasted much longer than average. That place brings back such wonderful memories for me as a young kid, second only to Randhurst.

    Kaszeta – Thanks for that bit of info about the Tri-City Mall.

    Roadbike531 – I’m with you on all three counts – the 60’s Penneys, Wards and Safeway logos were far more interesting than their successors. A truly classic design era.

    And I grew up with Penn-Prest clothes!

    Paul – “They’re having a sale at Penneys!”

    Anonymous – Very nice pic of the Pompano Fashion Square Penneys. Thanks!

    Jamcool – Lower case is in, that’s for sure. Kind of dull after a while, as they all seem so generic.

    And “ribbons” is a good way to describe the 60’s Penneys logo – thick, flowing lines.


    While we're posting pictures of Penneys' glory days, here's a before and after of the original location in Anchorage, Alaska. It was destroyed in the 1964 Good Friday earthquake and rebuilt afterwards. However, the building was changed from a 5-story to a wider 3-story.

  18. Dave-here's a SFW clip from "Dawn of the Dead" in which the classic boomerang logo serves as a backdrop for one of the most famous lines in horror cinema.

  19. Hmm. I didn't realize the link would cut off. Let me try again.

  20. This and Sears' old script and all-caps 'serif' logos are my favorites, no question.

    Thank goodness I got to actually see a few of these old Penney's signs, as well as an actual old-school 1960s-era un-renovated store before it closed. This logo has been gone from Wisconsin as of 2001....namely the full-size Penney's store at Memorial Mall (Sheboygan WI), which I got to see first in 1991, and more thoroughly in 1994 (actually went through the store to get into the mall interior). Four of these signs adorned the outside of the store (one each above the three entryways, and a big one above (and set back a ways from) the mall's main entrance that could be seen as one came down the hill from I-43 towards the mall. The store was huge to the point where it took up 1/3 of the inline space on its side of the mall interior. Long story short, this store was a literal time-capsule, well-preserved example of a late-1960s era Penney's. A shame it closed in 2001 (it probably would have gotten a full remodel if they stuck around to this day).

    Other WI area 'Penneys' included (with opening years):

    -Southridge (Greendale)~ 1970

    -Oshkosh (Downtown)~ mid 1960s (closed and moved to Park Plaza in 1984, demolished thereafter)

    -Brookfield Square (Brookfield)- 1968 (a huge 2-story box, much like Memorial Mall's. The last of its kind open to this day in the state, albeit completely remodeled inside and out)

    -Mid-Cities Mall (Manitowoc)- April 1968
    (Smaller-format of their '60s era stores. Finally closed January of this year, was the sole remaining tenant for over 10 years while the adjoining mall rotted away)

    -West Towne (1970) and East Towne (1971) Malls (Madison)-
    (The latter was the last store in Wisconsin to get signed as 'Penney's')

    I dug through my local newspaper archives at the library and online, and for the record, Fond Du Lac's Forest Mall (my hometown mall) was also supposed to get a 'Penneys' format store to replace an older, cramped downtown the plans in 1968-1969 and was to open in 1970. A large store, with two stories, all departments and Auto service center, anchoring the mall's west end opposite the pre-existing H.C. Prange Co. (Prange's) department store / Prange Way discount store complex.
    Unfortunately, various circumstances pushed construction back to 1972, and as such, Penney was moved to the mall's center, downsized to one story, and opened in 1973 with the then-current Helvetica font style.

    With as slow as things get remodeled at my hometown mall, this really bit once I found this out. Our store would have been another that would have been left alone well into the 1990s, probably not would have seen a remodel until the mall's 1st renovation in 1985, or its 2nd in 1998.

    I'm not sure of any other locations in Wisconsin that had this format, but those I named are probably the most significant ones. Most mall-based JCPs opened in the 1970s and 1980s, long after the company phased out these graphics.

    I'm sure had the man himself (James Cash) Penney not died in 1971, the "funky P" logo would have lasted longer. Much of the reason they created the now-classic "JCPenney" name was in honor of him.
    Of course, nothing against the familiar Hevetica logo. I just find the short-lived one of the 1960s more easy on the eyes. It's not so 'in your face' to me.

    Finally, i share the same sentiments as others who've said this. The whole trend of 'all lowercase' types and fonts in corporate identities just doesn't work in some applications. Sears, especially. What a wimpy-looking logo, and it's not even on their storefronts.....only in print and on their website (for now). They've really come down a long way from their heyday during the mall-building boom of the 1950s-early 1970s.

  21. I will be 43 in three short days, so I was born at the tail end of the "Funky P" era. But believe it or not I do remember it, mainly because the film chain tags for the "Available at these fine locations" ads in the Green Bay market were a little slow to change. So even in about 1973 I can remember seeing this logo at the end of those ads. I am SWOONING at the wonderful design ideas included at the end of the post! I really dig the scripty Penney's logo idea with the exclamation point! :D

  22. I fancy all the Ps that were tried out in the last image scanned. I think they all look funky. As someone who has only ever seen the famous Helvetica logo, I gotta say I missed out on the funky P years. Sorry, but that new logo they unveiled looks so horrendous and devoid of any creativity whatsoever. It looks like they typed and highlighted it in Microsoft Word. I hate to be harsh, but I don't see this being longlasting that New Gap logo that quickly disappeared

    Mike #1, I think I came across some 70s fashion Manor dishes at an estate sale just the other day. I don't recall if these came from Pennys' but they were early retro 70s funky and I was considering getting them but my husband was not overly excited about them. Next time I think I will just get them anyway. :-D

  23. I see that several pictures have been posted, so I thought I would share a link to a picture of the Springfield, MO Battlefield Mall entrance of Penneys. I originally thought I would not bother to share it, as the Penney's logo over the doors is partly obscured with a banner. The picture was taken during a vo-tech event that was at the mall, with little displays and booths, back about 1975, when the Boomerang logo still graced the store. Thus, the photographer was concentrating on the displays. At least you all can think of it as a glimpse of life at the Battlefield Mall 1975. This may not appeal to all, but such things do to me. Note in the picture that the store on the right side of the picure is Jarman's Shoes.

    Penneys is still right where it was then, and is still quite a busy store. The big change in this location is that about 15 years ago, Penneys put in a big "Home Store" in a nearby shopping center, thus freeing up space in the mall location for more clothing. The footprint the mall store occupies has not changed in over 40 years.

  24. Oh, and Didi...I say you overrule your spouse and get those dishes next time you have the chance! The set of dishes which I mentioned are actually quite plain for the era; they are white with a brighter white, simple pattern and a silver trim. Quite timeless, really, they make a holiday table seem quite elegant!

  25. A photographer has been posting pictures of the Dixie Square Mall on Flickr for some time now. The Dixie Square Mall, for those who don't know, closed in 1979 and has been basically rotting ever since due to various reasons. His pictures are a fascinating look of a decaying structure that has long since fallen prey to the weather, squatters and "scrappers".

    Penneys was one of the anchor tenants and the building is still standing (unlike Montgomery Ward, which was demolished some time back). Last year, the photographer found the last reminder that the structure was once a Penneys-a tampon dispenser in the ladies room. Due to darkness, the label is in almost perfect condition. You don't see sights like this every day.

    Here's a website the photographer created featuring his pictures.

  26. Only one store I know still has the classic Penneys logo.... and its not easily visible.

    Look at the birds eye view on bing maps of the Montclair Plaza in Montclair, CA. Turn it facing south, and voila! Its still there on the building. It was left on when the mall added a second story in the 80's. Its definitely a hidden treasure.

  27. Michael D. – Interesting pics of the Anchorage Penney’s, thanks. I have an old National Geographic magazine with an article on that earthquake with pictures of the amazing devastation along the main commercial streets. Another big retail name affected by that quake was Safeway, one of their supermarkets was destroyed. Along with scores of locally-owned businesses, of course.

    Fascinating clip from “Dawn of the Dead” – you’re right, the Penneys sign is right there, front and center, a perfect backdrop for that famous line. Maybe I should check the whole movie out, now that I’m old enough to not need my parents’ permission! ;)

    And about the Dixie Square Mall photographer, Jon Revelle - many of us are very familiar with his incredible work in documenting the Dixie Square ruin. He’s definitely come up with some neat artifacts from the place as well! There are some links to his work on the Dixie Square post I did a while back, which you may have seen.

    Matt – I always appreciate the awesome level of detail you include in your comments with regard to the various chains’ Wisconsin presence. Thanks so much! I’d love to have seen the Sheboygan location in particular. You may be familiar with the postcard view of the Forest Mall, where the JCP is prominent:

    And I’m certainly in agreement with your taste in store logos!

    Mel – Happy Birthday! (Oh, to be 43 again!) :)

    I loved the behind-the-scenes peek at the experimental logos also. Although I think the “Funky P” was the best of the lot, many of the others were deserving as well!

    Didi – “Highlighted in Microsoft Word” ;) (I do think it’s better than the Gap logo that lasted what, two hours?)

    I like funky vintage kitchen stuff, “P” logo or not. As Mike says, you should get them next time!

    Mike – That photo was well worth posting, thanks! A nice period glimpse of the Battlefield Mall, as you say, and something that I think appeals to many who regularly visit this site.

    I sure remember the Jarman shoe stores. Funny enough, I bought a late 1950’s history of Neiman-Marcus (called “Neiman-Marcus, Texas”) at a used bookstore last year, and out of the pages popped a circa late-50’s business card for Maxey Jarman, president of General Shoe Co. (Genesco), parent of the Jarman and Johnston & Murphy shoe chains, Bonwit Teller, and later on the Kress dime stores. Genesco is still around with Johnston & Murphy and their “youth” shoe store chain, Journeys.

    Jeff – Wow, makes you want to get up on the roof (because I’m sure you can’t see it from ground level). Very nice - Thanks!

  28. Apollo 13 movie has a passing clip of a Penneys, presumably in Florida, of people watching a rocket liftoff. It's a very short "real" clip, with, beautiful outdoor color...

    In the 70's-80's, I went to the awesome Penney's at Lakehurst in Waukegan, IL...had the little cafe just inside the north entrance.


  29. I'm 39 but have always called J.C. Penney "Penney's" and continue to do so. Our store in Clarksville, Indiana had that cool Blue and Black sign for many years since the store opened in 1969.

  30. As a Chicago boy, you certainly should appreciate this, and it is somewhat related to mercantile--people in the Windy City shopping for cars have, for over a century, found it easy to do so at the Chicago Auto Show:

  31. Todd – Thanks – I haven’t seen Apollo 13 since it first came out in ’95, but you’ve given me all the reason I need to watch it again! I remember the movie had great period details, like the cookout scene where all the men are wearing bright-colored mock turtleneck shirts. That certainly brought back memories of tagging along as a little kid to the homes of my parents’ friends, right around the time of those moonshots.

    I believe Lakehurst was the very last Penneys store to open with the “Funky P” logo. Ironically the Woodfield location, which opened on the very same day in 1971, had the Helvetica logo. If you haven’t seen it, you need to check out the Lakehurst tribute site, a superb look at a mall that disappeared way too soon:

    IUChad – Clarksville is a surprising town in many ways! Thanks for sharing that.

    Paul – Thanks for that wonderful link! Every year, from my upper grade school years through the first couple of years of college (late 70’s-early 80’s), our family would go the the Auto Show on a Saturday morning. We’d get there right when it opened at 8am and stay all day, then have dinner in Chicago’s Greektown. One time we saw the mayor of Chicago (Michael Bilandic, the shortest-termer between the two Daley reigns) do his ceremonial walk-through with the Auto Show officials, and hardly anyone else was there yet!

    The shows were always a blast, with elaborate displays, runway models and all sorts of hoopla. For several years, Walter Payton signed autographs for Buick (on a color pic of him leaning against a Buick Century), and Lincoln-Mercury always had a panel of greats – Jesse Owens, Peggy Fleming and Byron Nelson were just some of the ones who personally handed me autograph cards! Best of all, you could sit behind the wheel of the cars, with the exception of most of the imported sports and luxury makes. My brothers and I considered it our solemn duty to “test drive” as many cars as could! We would lug home huge plastic bags full of car brochures for later reading. When I moved away from home in 1987, I threw tons of them away.

    It was my favorite day of the year, second only to Christmas!

  32. One of the commenters mentions a JCP in Oshkosh as Demolished. Actually, the mall it was in still stands. It worked nicely in conjunction with the downtown until the owners of the mall decided to close it down and try to rent out the mall entirely to entities like the state of Wisconsin and call centers. And there went the downtown. The JCP relocated to a strip mall parallel to the highway on the west side of town.

    I recently worked at JCP and the stores set execution manager for my location had worked there for his entire career. From 1964 to 1975 he had every seasonal catalog hard bound and on a shelf in his office. I used to love reading these on my breaks. Each one is a real time capsule. You'd think that they would be easy to find on places like eBay but they aren't and often sell for a lot of money.

    They can change the font, mass retail is dead. I feel bad for the generations today who never grew up with a real downtown, just malls. I have a son who is 9 months old and live in a city of 220,000. We have ONE bookstore, barnes and Noble. This city had scads of them when I was a kid and I lost myself in their aisles regularly.

  33. RegularJoe, my fault there. I didn't mean to say the mall was torn down. You're right in that it (Park Plaza) still stands, and it's a crying shame what happened to that once-thriving mall. The common areas are still there, and virtually all that remain of the original mall, but it serves as nothing more than an airy gathering space for the workers within the various offices. The outer walls have basically been reconfigured into faux streetscape storefronts, and there's no longer outside access to the common areas themselves.

    Oshkosh's Penneys was originally elsewhere downtown close to the mall. Where at exactly, I do not know. They had already moved into Park Plaza by the time I first got to that mall in 1984. Before that, I didn't know Oshkosh had a 'mall'. Their 'mall' to me was along the highway....just a very old, classic K-mart (opened 1967-68) and a Copps supercenter-format (Discount/supermarket...opened around 1969-1970) store. Once Menards (1981), ShopKo, and Prange Way (both in late 1984) came along, and ultimately, Fox River Mall (also opening in '84) up in the Appleton area, that pretty well spelled the end of Park Plaza's heyday. It really hit the skids when that outlet mall opened, though even that has seen its ups and downs with no less than 4 or 5 different owners over the years.

    Along with my own memories and research (old news articles, phone directories, etc), and the tidbits of trivia people contributed about that mall, I pretty much know Park Plaza's entire history.

    To think 30 years ago, their downtown (compared to my hometown's at least) as well as Appleton's own downtown, were for the most part, still thriving centers of retail and community activity.

    Say what you will about enclosed malls. They're experiencing the same issues now that downtown did back when they were being put up against the newfangled malls. Frankly, some cities that got malls, didn't (and don't...thus why they're dying or dead and closed) need them because either their population radius are too small to support them, or there's another mall people already go to that's within a half-hour to an hour drive away. Just as downtowns lost their 'anchor' stores, so too now, are enclosed malls. Some downtowns here in WI (mostly in smaller towns....forget Milwaukee, Madison or other mid-sized cities) are actually starting to turn a corner and are thriving again. Not with chain stores...we'll never get those back, but with boutiques, restaurants, and other establishments. It takes local residents' patronage, along with their word-of-mouth to make it all work out.

    That's how the retailers of old got their starts after all.

    Oh, and yes, those old catalogs from Wards, Sears, and of course, Penneys, are like a treasure trove of history. It's unfortunate that the insane amount of man hours to digitize every page, and the high costs of server space and bandwidth for such an endevor, won't make it possible to ever catalog everything. There 'is' one site out there that has some select catalogs from Sears, Penney and Wards in digital format. As kids, we all knew what section to hit up first in the Christmas holiday editions of those massive tomes....I need not even have to mention it.

  34. The old JCP was in the middle of the 400 Block of Main St. I believe it is a hardware store now, it was when I moved out of town but that was some time ago. There was a crosswalk pretty much in the center of that block and the old JCP was right there. It was a very nice and simple two story store with a lot of the touches that one would see in a department store of that vintage, one such detail I remember was that the stairs to the basement floor were circular and winded their way down. IIRC it had a fully operational catalog division as well. The mall opened in the mid-70's and JCP relocated into their mall spot in the early 1980's.

    The was also a very nice Pranges' store in the mall that was an anchor store for that wing. 1st floor was Pranges and 2nd was Prange Way IIRC. We all thought it was odd when JCP went in as you could exit Prange's into the mall and then maybe 4 stores down on the right was now the entry to JCP so you had two traditional anchor stores on one wing of the mall but the co-existed together quite well.

    Not too far from the mall in the 200 block of Main was a multistory department store, I think it was called Kimball's...again, very nice and they don't make 'em like that anymore.

    Last item of trivia - yes, that mall is quite dead now. There is a very nice restaurant in it by the name of Beckett's (named after the architect of the mall) and about 1/2 of the seating in the restaurant is the old benches that used to populate the common areas of the mall back when it was open. They aren't any more comfortable now than they were back in the day.

    There's a website called labelscar and there are some memories left there about this my by myself as well as several others if you are curious about more.

  35. Sad news for classic logo people, "Carson Pirie Scott" is becoming just "Carson's"...

  36. Pseudo3D – Multi-name department stores have done this kind of thing for years. For sure, nearly everyone I knew growing up did refer to it as “Carson’s”, but I hope they at least keep the full name for the store buildings themselves, regardless of what they do in their ads. “Carson Pirie Scott” has always had such a classy ring. I just noticed they’re opening a new store in Kokomo, Indiana tomorrow, and am real curious to see if the building features the full name or just “Carson’s”. We’ll see!

    Years back when the “Marshall Field & Company” name was scrapped in favor of just “Marshall Field’s”, I felt they had really lost something, although they did leave the older signage in place where it already existed. A moot issue now, of course!

  37. I'm enjoying poking around your blog - nice job! Here's a Funky P 1964 architects rendering in Seattle

  38. And now the jcp "red box" is being replaced by the "flag"'S-TRANSFORMATION-PLANS-REVEALED-AT-LAUNCH-EVENT-IN-NEW-YORK-CITY

  39. 2/3/12 wrote:
    Your artcles never cease to amaze me about my childhood memories about certain stores and businesses, partcularly mine in Detroit, Pontiac, and Lapeer/Flint during the late 60's-early 80's (my childhood period). My fond memories of Penney's department stores was the one located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan at the then-grand (for 1967) Miracle Mile plaza off of Telegraph Rd. by Square Lake Rd, near I-75. The name was memorable, but by 1981, the plaza named was changed to thr more eletist-sounding name "Bloomfield Plaza". The Penney's lasted from it's grand opening in 1967, and still stands today, only without it's cool "P" logo (that was taken down and replaced in 1979.)Perhaps Penny's most (in)famous example of merchandising during the "Cool P" era was the idea of manufacturing a clothing line worn by the TV singing group The Monkees in late 1966. Therew they stood, clad in J.C. Penney's shirt and pants designs on the cover of their most famous album "More of The Monkees", with over 4,000,000 units sold that year, and according to Micky Dolenz in his autobiography "I'm A Believer" (1994), they hated the clothing designs (Mike Nesmith alone had stated in interviews that he hated The clothes, the sleeve and the album all at once.)Dolenz also pointed out in a photo caption in his book: "Sorry Penney's, you're a fine department store, but geez, what geeky clothes you made us wear!" Most J.C. Penney's oulets still exsist in Michigan, a few of them having cloed over the years, but some still doing well. One Penney's retail outlet did open up at Auburn Hills' Great Lakes Crossing mall in 1998, but closed down in 2007, now replaced by a Bed and Bath retail store.

  40. The Morristown,TN store from 1965 until 1988 had the Penney's logo at its Morristown Plaza Shopping Center and the yellow Penney's sign on the back of the store. In 1988, when it moved to College Square Mall, it put up the JCPenney logo at its newer location.

  41. If I may, I'd like to add some insider knowledge. When the change came, from Penney's to JCPenney, signs with the new name were provided to all stores at the company's expense. However, the cost of taking down the old signs and putting up the news was borne by the stores. Penney's store management was part of a profit sharing plan known as "comp" - you got a set yearly salary, plus a variable year-end payment that was based directly on how profitable your store had been. Also, Penney stores and Penney associates were more independent in those days. There was a heritage of partnership then that grew out of the company's history. Store managers had more control over how their stores were run than they are today. So, if a store manager felt it would hurt his profit to pay the costs of changing the signs, he might just put that new sign into a store room and leave the old one right where it was. I know of at least one such case where that happened. I suspect there were many others. I remember one store in Ohio that kept it's original black and yellow J.C.Penney Company sign on the back of its building into the 1980s