Artifact of the Month

South Dakota’s First Escalator

South Dakota’s First Escalator

J.C. Penney was located at 117-119 S. Phillips Avenue at the corner of 9th and Main and opened in 1939. In just 13 years, the store needed to modernize, and at this time, the planning began to include escalators in the newly redesigned store. Work started in October, 1952, and the escalators opened on March 19, 1953. There were six sets of escalators total–three up, three down. The cost to build the escalators was about $180,000. The J.C. Penney store, along with its escalators was razed on June 18, 1980. At this time, they were the only escalators in South Dakota.

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