Magical history tour

I enjoyed your cover story, "Sin City: Charlottesville's Naughty Side" [August 8, 2002] (, because it reminded me of local porn history omitted from the story. By starting with the Pleasure Chest on Cherry Avenue in the '80s and by failing to note that the rundown of x-rated history was brief or abridged, the article gives the impression that no porn occurred before then. Not so.

The downtown Cinema (later the Movie Palace, now Jefferson Theater) used to show adult movies. Its proprietor, Democrat Robert Stroh, ran for City Council in the mid '70s and received 2,088 votes, making him seventh in a field of 10 candidates for three seats ("Two City Seats Go to GOP," Daily Progress, May 5, 1976.) A letter to the Progress ("Candidate's Theatre Draws Comment" by Naomi Wallace, May 1, 1976) questioned his moral qualifications for office.

The Terrace Triple (now vacant next to K-Mart) showed "businessman special" adult matinees as recent as the early '80s.

The most famous local red-light history was a house of prostitution on Fifth Street SE between Garrett and the train tracks. Marguerita's (Marguiretta de Crescioli) opulent brothel operated from 1922-1949 out of an eight-room Jeffersonian style red brick house. When it was torn down in 1972 as part of Garrett renewal, the demolition uncovered a reportedly large amount of cash, coins and bills in jars, that had been hidden in the walls. When word got out, throngs gathered to pick through the ruins. ("Marguerita Ville," March 5, 2002, The Witness Report.)

A generation from now, like today, letters to editors and micropresses will provide a few glimpses into the giant glory-holes of local history.

Blair Hawkins