The city of Placerville, California, also known as Hangtown, is losing the noose on its logo.
The logo, which the city manager believes is only about 40 years old, depicts a miner and a noose hanging from a tree in the background. It alludes to California’s Gold Rush and the rise in crime that came with it.
“Murders and robberies became frequent in isolated camps along the American River, and before long, several merchants and miners had lost their poke of gold at knife point,” says the city’s website.
After an impromptu citizens’ jury agreed to hang a man accused of a crime, the town became known as Hangtown. It took on the name Placerville in 1854.
The City Council’s unanimous vote to remove the noose came after more than three hours of emotional comments from community members during a Zoom meeting.
Many argued the logo is racist.
“A noose is a symbol of death,” one resident said. “A noose is a symbol of lynching. A noose is a symbol of racism. I think we’re better than that.”
Others argued removing the logo takes away from the city’s history.
“This world right now is taking inch by inch little pieces of our history and throwing it away,” another resident said, who called on the council to let the people vote on the issue. “If we remove this, and the next thing you’re going to do is remove ‘Hangtown’ name itself, in 10-15 years, our kids aren’t going to know anything about it.”
This isn’t the first time Placerville City Council has debated changing the controversial logo.
“Tonight shows you what a diverse and unique town we live in,” Mayor Dennis Thomas said after the vote to remove the noose from the logo and other facilities.
The city manager estimated the cost to make the changes would be around $3,500. The cost is expected to be absorbed in this year’s budget.