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Big Bright Neon City Lights - May 25, 2018

 The iconic Western Auto sign, seen in this file photo from the Kansas City Star, is being restored and should come back to life sometime this summer.

Q: The iconic, neon Western Auto sign in downtown Kansas City is being restored and should come back to life by mid-to-late summer. This reminds us that the man who started the Western Auto Supply Company was Kansas native George Pepperdine. His company did so well that he started his own school, known today as Pepperdine University, in Malibu, California. Where, in Kansas, was George Pepperdine born?

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A: Mound Valley, Kansas (in 1886)

George Pepperdine was born on a farm in Mound Valley, Kansas, on June 20, 1886. He graduated from Parsons Business College in Parsons, Kansas. In 1909, he started the Western Auto Supply Company with an initial investment of just five dollars. With the rise in popularity of the automobile, his business thrived. (In fact, at one point, there were more than 6,000 Western Auto stores nationwide!) Pepperdine moved to California in 1916. A deeply religious man, he founded George Pepperdine College in Los Angeles during the Great Depression. Later, the school was moved to Malibu, where it is now known simply as Pepperdine University. George Pepperdine died in California in 1962. 

Read more about the restoration of the iconic Western Auto sign in downtown Kansas City.

Read more about George Pepperdine.

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