Recap: From Theater to Bookstore – Adaptive Reuse Tour at Tattered Cover

On Tuesday, April 24, 2018, we toured Tattered Cover Book Store (2526 E Colfax Ave) from 4:30 to 6:00 PM. The building that currently hosts Tattered Cover on East Colfax was originally the historic Bonfils-Lowenstein Theater. Retaining many of the theater’s original architectural features, Tattered Cover is a lovely example of adaptive reuse in Denver! Matthew Miller, Chief Operating Officer with Tattered Cover Bookstore, and special guest Charles Woolley, Founding Principal and President of St. Charles Town Company, the site’s developer, guided the tour.

About the tour: The tour highlighted the elements of the theater’s history as it was originally designed. It included a behind-the-scenes look of the building with a discussion of changes that were required to make the building functional as a bookstore and update the building for modern codes. It also featured elements required for it to be included on the National Historic Register.

About the site: When former Denver Post publisher Helen Bonfils built her 550-seat theater in 1953 as a memorial to her parents, it was the first new theater building in Denver in 40 years. By the time it closed in 1986, it had hosted more than 400 main stage and children’s productions. It was considered one of the best-designed and best-equipped theater buildings that existed at the time. Denver architect John K. Monroe designed the theater in Art Moderne style. The building was faced with cream-colored brick and trimmed in buff-colored terra cotta and red sandstone, which was the architect’s signature feature. Below the “wing-swept” marquee, a contoured aluminum canopy overhung the entrance. After lying dormant for 19 years, Tattered Cover restored the building for use as a bookstore while retaining many of the basic architectural elements that define the theater. – Image and description courtesy of Tattered Cover Bookstore