Celebration of a Goal Finally Achieved
The Town of Penney Farms and the J.C. Penney Memorial Scenic Highway organization have worked in partnership with the Historical Society over the last few years to plan and construct a new home for the town’s museum. Construction of the new historic museum in the town’s old volunteer firehouse was recently completed. For the last several months, community volunteers have worked tirelessly to create a welcoming atmosphere with new exhibits and interactive opportunities to help attract residents and visitors to the Town.
The official grand opening of the Town of Penney Farms Historic Museum was held on February 24, 2022.
This grand opening event attracted dozens of visitors including museum patrons, donors, and local officials. During the open house, those in attendance had the opportunity to enjoy multiple exhibits, historical photos and a special display featuring the working families that started the community of New Hope, located just outside the Town of Penney Farms. Heritage and history are cherished on the byway, built around a community that still claims the Golden Rule as its guide.
Reverence for Local History
In 1922, approximately 120,000 acres of unincorporated land outside of Jacksonville was purchased by department store pioneer James Cash Penney, owner of the Golden Rule Stores, later to be known as J. C. Penney Stores.
His vision was to develop an experimental farming community and utopian village. Qualified homesteaders received 40 acres of land to clear, till, plant crops and raise livestock. After two years of farming, that land would become theirs to keep.
In 1926, Penney founded the community of Penney Farms. Soon after, he built the Memorial Home for ministers and people in the Lord’s service with limited available financial resources to live in retirement. The homesteaded farms are now gone, but descendants of the original homesteaders still live in the Town of Penney Farms and the surrounding area. The new museum will help preserve the strong community history of peaceful fellowship into the future.
Part of a Beautiful Scenic Highway
Drive to the J.C. Penney Memorial Scenic Highway, and visit the Museum on the way into town to learn about the hardy group of families who populated this community. The byway has great sidewalks for walking and cycling in the shady canopy of its trees if you want to slow down and enjoy this “Tree City, USA” designated community.
The Town of Penney Farms Historic Museum Address:
4100 Clark Avenue
Penney Farms, Florida 32079
For additional details of the event, see the Clay Today Online article
Additional information about J.C. Penney Scenic Highway & Museum: J.C. Penney FSHP Page