Dayton’s project yields another treasure

The renovation of the former Dayton’s department store building in downtown Minneapolis continues to yield the mysteries of the past.

Mpls.St.Paul Magazine says so far, in addition to a dead monkey, antique nesting eggs, and a 40-year-old box of chocolates, the project has now reunited a red leather wallet with its owner.

Stephanie Peterson says she barely remembers losing her wallet as a teenager. But now she has her combination for her school locker, pictures of her friends, her Social Security card, and a Dayton’s charge card back again.

Alas, there was no money.

“I didn’t have any,” she tells the magazine.

Peterson would have been 17 at the time the wallet disappeared. A student at Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis, she spent a lot of time at Dayton’s as a member of the store’s teen board, and a sales associate in the juniors’ department.

“We did everything at Dayton’s. My mom and I would go down on Saturdays to look around. I still call it Dayton’s. And the store isn’t even there!”

Peterson’s connection to the hometown department store continued into the 1970s when she was a media buyer for Grey Advertising and worked with Dayton’s creative department—including legendary marketing guru John Pellegrene — on radio and TV spots. She went on to become associate publisher of Mpls.St.Paul, and that job title in her Facebook profile led the Dayton’s Project team to the magazine, which provided the direct link to Peterson.