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Rich’s focus of upcoming library talk

POSTED: January 28, 2014 12:04 a.m.
 

WEST FORSYTH — A Southern shopping institution will be the focus of an upcoming library presentation.

Historian Jeff Clemmons will trace the 137-year history of Atlanta’s Rich’s Department Store during a talk at 2 p.m. Feb. 8 in the Post Road Library, 5010 Post Road.

Clemmons, a resident of suburban Atlanta, will share from his book “Rich’s: A Southern Institution,” detailing interesting facts such as the stories behind Penelope Penn, the Pink Pig and the store’s famous coconut cake.

Sarah Reynolds, information services supervisor at the library, said she wanted to bring the program to Forsyth after a colleague in neighboring Dawson County presented it there.

“It was a big hit and they are even farther north than we are,” Reynolds said. “So we thought there would be a lot of interest here, too.”

Reynolds said about 30 people have registered so far to attend the discussion, which has room for about 50.

“People have been really interested in this since Rich’s really is an icon,” she said. “I think we have a lot of Southern people who have relocated here since Forsyth has become a suburb to Atlanta, so many people have memories of going to the store.

“One person said that it was a tradition twice a year to go down to Rich’s. I remember when I was young, my mom would take me and I actually rode the Pink Pig … and would see the lighting of the Christmas tree.”

Reynolds said Clemmons will provide plenty of detailed information about the store, which was opened in 1867 by Hungarian Jewish immigrant Morris Rich.

“It’s a great opportunity to speak with someone who has done such thorough research and can offer reputable information, plus just some anecdotal things that might pique your interest,” she said, adding that any program with a focus on local or Georgia history is popular through the library system.

“Even if it’s not particularly Forsyth County, people here are always interested in history and this is just one of those nostalgic things that I think has been a part of more family traditions that we realize.”

 

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