Watch CBSN Live

California city nicknamed "Hangtown" will vote to remove noose from its logo

The city of Placerville in California is deciding whether to change its logo to remove an image of a noose hanging from a tree after concerns over the symbolism and the area's "Hangtown" nickname, CBS Sacramento reports.

The image, which can be seen on buildings and city vehicles, symbolizes hate for some and years of history for others.

"They took law into their own hands at that time and there were people that were hanged for their crimes," said city manager, Cleve Morris.

Morris said the proposal was brought up from concerned citizens and city council members during a prior city council meeting discussing potentially changing the area's nickname, "Hangtown." A number of citizens wrote the city to protest the name change, which was never put on the agenda for a vote, according to CBS Sacramento.

The city's logo includes the name "Old Hangtown."

On Tuesday, the city will decide whether it will remove the noose hanging from a tree in its logo.

Placerville's logo CBS Sacramento

"Some of those feel like that is taking away a piece of our history, I think we can still maintain our history if the council decides to go that route ... others will think that is a step in the right direction, I'm sure," Morris said.

Kelley Rogers is in favor of removing the image from the city's logo. "The noose symbolizes a lot of things and historical or not, I think it is a good thing to remove that from the city's logo," he said.

CBS Sacramento reports changing the city's nickname is off the table, for now, a relief for some longtime residents.

"I think the 'Old Hangtown' needs to be left alone. The noose, I definitely see why people want to get rid of it," resident Kathy Garel said.

CBS Sacramento reports Placerville has long been known as Hangtown. CBS Sacramento

The city says on its website that Placerville was a Gold Rush town named after placer gold deposits that were discovered in its hills and river beds in the 1840s. It says it became known as Hangtown in its early days after several hangings.

After a crime in 1849, an impromptu citizens' jury considered the fate of three people who were accused. "The jury wasted little time reaching a verdict," the city says. "Then the question was asked, 'What shall be done with them?' Someone shouted, 'Hang them!' The majority were in agreement, And so it was that the first known hanging in the Mother Lode that was carried out."

"The word spread quickly and Old Dry Diggins soon became known as Hangtown due to several other hangings," the city says.

The site of the hangings was an oak tree near the center of town, the city says The stump of the tree still remains at the site, now known as "Hangman's Tree," which is considered a historical landmark.

The Sacramento Bee reported earlier this month the city is home to Hangtown Skate Shop, the Hangtown Originals gift shop, Hangtown Cyclery, Hangtown Painting, Hangtown Cantina, Hangtown Village Square, Hangtown Travel Inc., Hangtown Vapor N' Tobacco Hub, Hangtown Motel and the Hangtown shooting range.  

The city says "Placerville" officially became its name in the mid-1850s as Hangtown grew into California's third largest town.

"With the increasing population came a temperance league, a Methodist Episcopal Church and agitation for a less morbid name," it says. "Placerville had been suggested as early as 1850. It became official when the city was incorporated in 1854."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue