Margot Kelly -- Hail to the (Porn) Queen of Barracks Row

The Hill Rag

July 2011

Barracks Row was not always cupcakes and cosmos, a fact that might surprise some newcomers to the Hill.

"The porno queen of 8th Street, that's what they called me," laughs Margot Kelly. That was near the start of her 40 year odyssey: cleaning up 8th Street. Barracks Row. It's been a bumpy ride.

In the late 1960s, when the liquor store closed in a building she owned across from the Marine Barracks, Kelly was approached by a man wanting to open a bookstore. A bookstore on 8th Street! Fancy that, she thought.

She instantly leased him the space and fantasized, in six month's time, adding a winding staircase to the second floor "for a tea room where people could sit and read.”

"I don't intend to have that kind of bookstore," he said, red-faced.