On Thursday, May 15, as Tim and Sue Taylor waited for the Pony Express rider to deliver petition signatures to City Hall, the window frames, corbels and arched cornices went up over the former Hangman Tree building. The buildings at 301 and 305 Main St., known locally as the Herrick Building and the Hangman’s Tree Building, share a common roof and are owned by the Taylors who are restoring them.
David Clayson of Dacor Buildings recreated the corbels, cornices and frames using old photographs of the historical building at 305 Main St. On that Thursday, he and helper Michael Drobesh were installing them.
The building, still shielded with scaffolding, now displays wooden siding as it did originally in the 1800s. Sue Taylor said she painted the siding a weathered-looking light green, a color they found on the original siding of the building.
“The siding on the front facade had dry rot, so we used the siding from the side of the building for the front and we used wood from the old EID flume of about the same era to replace the siding on the side,” said Sue Taylor.
The paint used is milk paint, a type of paint used at the time of the building’s construction in the 1850s. The Taylors are committed to using authentic materials when possible and are looking for antique glass to replace the original windows.
At the rear of the building, ivory letters on a deep red wooden siding read (mostly) “Hangman Tree Historic Spot,” an unexpected find when the non-original stucco facade was removed.
“When we removed the stucco facade, the letters on the wooden siding underneath were visible,” said Tim Taylor. “We’ve filled them in, except for a couple of the letters and we used a photo from the 1940s that showed the back of the building before the stucco was added in the 1970s. That was our guide. We were surprised that the wooden siding wasn’t rotted at all. That wood is hardy.”
The two buildings, while still sharing a roof, will have different facade treatments in accordance with their original appearances. Sue Taylor plans to install a time capsule under one of the cornices being installed on the Hangman building.
George, the Hanging Man dummy, has been removed for renovation as well.