Capitol Hill Books is closed today after a truck carrying Lime scooters crashed into the glass storefront at 300 East Colfax Avenue at 8:40 p.m. on November 17, crashing into a glass shelf containing the books rare most expensive in the store.
“Signed books by Richard Bachman, small signed prints from the first edition – they’re ruined,” said William Kortz, an employee who was first on the scene. At least 100 books and rare prints were damaged in the crash.
The rest of the store was saved by a heavy, old-fashioned radiator that prevented the truck from going any further. However, steam from the burst radiator hit the rare books and prints on the shelves.
âIt wasn’t so much the accident as the steam from the radiator hose that broke that caused the books to break,â said owner Holly Brooks, who is in good spirits despite the shocking incident. âWe can get some of the books back; we just haven’t started on that part yet. We need to get back in shape before welcoming people to the rest of the store. ”
She continues, “That’s what we’re going to do today – sort through and find out what’s lost and basically store what we can until we have access to that area again.”
Brooks discovered the crash after employees at the nearby Newhouse Hotel texted Kortz, who lives nearby. He immediately ran.
âIt was a real shock when I arrived. It was like finding her child under a truck. That’s how I feel about this place; it’s like a person. It hurts a lot,â said -he.
It was also quite a gift for Brooks, who had just celebrated his 71st birthday. “This is the one I will never forget!” she says.
For Ben Hall, who has worked in the store for eleven years, the truck “was the culmination” of the most eventful events to have happened at the store during his tenure.
The damaged books and prints are currently neatly stacked in a corner of the store, and Brooks and his team are now looking for shelves to store materials they can salvage.
As for the storefront, Brooks sees an opportunity in chaos. She contacted the owner about installing a new wall there. “No more glass,” she laughs. “We’re thinking of making it a wall instead of windows so that we can have a mural there. We have so much space for the windows, so we won’t waste a lot by losing those three windows.”
No one at the bookstore knows how the truck crashed into the store, and the police “won’t tell us,” Brooks said.
The store went through tough times during the pandemic, and the business has never been easy, says Brooks, who bought the place fifteen years ago – it was founded four decades ago – and runs it. like a labor of love. “It must be,” Brooks notes. âDo you think anyone makes money from used bookstores? ”
“She doesn’t even get an income,” Kortz adds. “She works here and she owns it and puts her heart and soul in it and gets nothing out of it.”
Despite this latest trial, Brooks continues. âI was absolutely determined,â she says. âCOVID, pandemic, truck – whatever it is, this store is going to hold up. ”
The bookstore has long been a favorite of Denver book lovers. At the start of the pandemic, when Westword reported that it was about to close, readers flooded the store with online orders that allowed the store to pay rent.
Capitol Hill Books has updated his Facebook page, where he says he hopes to be open during regular hours – 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, November 20.