This Denver Bookstore was Hiding a Big Secret

1934 Crest Hotel Nat’l News Agency – alleged gambling syndicate

Crest Hotel Nat’l News Agency – alleged gambling syndicate
If you’ve ever spent time poking around independent bookshops and newsstands, you know these little businesses are packed with surprises.
If you found yourself poking around the National News Agency in 1934 you might have run into something really surprising – an illegal gambling den. That’s what the Denver Police Department discovered, tucked behind the latest copies of Good Housekeeping during the raid pictured in this photo.
There are, however, some confusing aspects to this photo, most specifically its caption, which reads: Crest Hotel Nat’l News Agency. According to the 1934 Colorado Business Directory, the Crest Hotel was located at 1924 Welton (which is now a parking lot across the street from Holy Ghost Catholic Church). The National News Agency, however, is listed in that same directory as being located at 707 17th Street, about two blocks away from the Crest. 
It’s certainly possible that the National News Agency operated a small satellite stand at the hotel, but there’s no indication of that in the directories. 1934 is the only year the National News Agency appears in any Denver phone book or directory. 
While we don’t really have a bead on the National News Agency/Crest Hotel connection, we do know this much: you never know what you’ll find on, and behind, the shelves at your local bookshop or newsstand. 
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