PLACERVILLE (CBS13) – The city of Placerville is deciding if they should change their logo to remove the image of a noose hanging from a tree after concerns over the symbolism and the area’s “Hangtown” nickname.
“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 out 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 that was never put on the agenda for a vote.
On Tuesday, the city will decide whether it will remove the noose hanging from a tree in their logo.
“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.
Changing the city’s nickname is off the table, for now, which is 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.
Hangman Tattoo on Main Street understands the desire for change but also points to the logo’s history.
“I understand why there is pressure to change the noose. It could be misguided because nobody was lynched here for racial reasons. It was capital punishment,” said tattoo artist Michael Valdez.
Valdez said the shop has not felt pressure to change their name, but chose not to incorporate images of hanging due to violence.
“We didn’t use a noose at our shop, just because we didn’t necessarily want to use a symbol of violence,” he explained. “We choose the name of the shop because it went with the history of the town and it goes along with the wild west vibe.”
Kelley Rogers is in favor of the removal of 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.
Rogers is in the process of his own re-branding. He is changing the name of his skateboard shop that he has owned since 2012 from Hangtown Skate Shop to Motherload Board Supply Company. It is an idea he has been thinking about for a year and a half. In the wake of George Floyd’s death, he decided now was the time to make the change.
“The George Floyd thing honestly did have a very big impact on myself,” he explained.
The shop previously used a lot of hanging imagery in their product branding. Rogers thought more about the impacts of the symbolism during the months his shop was closed due to shelter-in-place orders.
“With COVID and the George Floyd thing and the suicide aspect, that absolutely drove it home for me. I did not want to represent that and I do not think the city should represent that either,” Rogers said.
As Rogers looks to redefine his shop and phase out all his old branding, he hopes other people in the community will look to make changes as well.
“Growth is coming whether we want it to or not. So, you are either flexible with this or you are not. I just feel like I need to be flexible and open-minded and I hope everybody else can do that too,” he said.
The city will vote on the symbol change during their Tuesday meeting.