This small city serves as a gateway to Fossil Butte National Monument. Probably the most important person in Kemmerer’s history was James Cash Penney, who in 1902 started the Golden Rule chain of stores here. He later used the name J. C. Penney Company, which by 1929 had 1,395 outlets. Penney revolutionized merchandising in western Wyoming. Before the opening of Penney’s stores, the coal-mining industry dominated the region, and miners were used to working for the company and purchasing their supplies at the company store—which often charged whatever it wanted, managing to keep employees in debt. But when Penney opened his Golden Rule, he set one price for each item and stuck to it. Later he developed a catalog, selling to people unable to get to town easily.


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