Finding Thalhimers

If you’re a native Richmonder, Finding Thalhimers will warm your heart and resurrect memories from days of giant department stores towering in downtown Richmond, most notably the namesake of this new book by Elizabeth Thalhimer Smartt.image

But if you're not from Richmond, you'll love it too--I did. Turning the pages of this beautiful hard-cover book I learned so much about Richmond's past and the Thalhimer family who worked tirelessly in their family business through economic downturns, race riots, and new technology to keep their brand alive as long as possible. In doing so, they created thousands of memories for Richmond children like their famous Snow Bear, acted as heroes to African American Richmonders in a time when such heroism was not-at-all popular, and gave back to the Richmond community both monetarily and in ways that are immeasurable.

Elizabeth writes: By being the first major retailer in Richmond to integrate his entire store, he risked his business and his reputation to do what was right. He not only integrated, but he made a point of including blacks in the store’s hiring and promotion practices . . .

That passage, and several additionals pots in this heart-felt book made me pause and reflect on an era long-gone. The book took Elizabeth, a bright, young Richmond mom of one, twelve years to research and write. In it, historical significance and personal snapshots collide to create a book that is a historical treasure. If you’re lucky enough to receive this beautiful book, or smart enough to purchase it for yourself, you’ll never think about Richmond in the same way:

Dad said he could never go back to the downtown Thalhimer building after it closed because he didn’t want to see it without customers. When I see the clock sitting there on the street corner, I understand what he means. Sometimes it’s best to remember things at the peak of their glory.

Events and signings may be found at her site,

Kate Hall

Kate Hall is the Founder & CEO of and author of Richmond Rocks ,a history book for kids. She has three children and a cup that overfloweth. She is truly appreciative of the 100,000 + visitors who visit the blog every year, and for the amazing team of writers who create unique, valuable content. Kate is thrilled to fulfill her dream of having a cool place for Richmond, VA parents to learn, grow, and share while supporting local charities.

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