COMPTON — The Golden Garter, the last bar in this city to feature topless dancers, has been demolished to make way for a hardware store parking lot.
The bar was last in the news during last spring's mayoral campaign.
Chuck Esters, who challenged incumbent Mayor Walter R. Tucker, was branded a "pornographic playboy" in Tucker campaign mailers after a private detective followed Esters and photographed him outside the bar. The detective had been hired by Tucker supporters.
Esters, the son of a prominent local clergyman, insisted that he had visited the bar in search of votes.
The Golden Garter, which graced a lot on North Long Beach Boulevard for two decades, had changed owners several times as it withstood neighbors' long-standing complaints about its clientele, the bare-breasted waitresses and dancers, and the noise and fights that spilled onto the streets.
In 1981 the bar's liquor license was revoked for various violations of state law. Although it lingered on, the Golden Garter's business eventually dwindled to such a trickle that it opened for business only on weekends.
In the eyes of the urban planners who serve on the city's Redevelopment Agency, there is no place for a Golden Garter in the new Compton they are trying to create. Having failed to reach an agreement with the bar's owner on a sales price, the agency took possession of the land though condemnation proceedings, and demolished the bar.
The City Council has scheduled a hearing at 6:15 p.m. Oct. 17 on the sale of the barren land to Ace Hardware, which is set to open for business next month at 912 N. Long Beach Blvd.