Wednesday, April 23, 2014

New owners to restore Hangman’s-Herrick buildings

THE HERRICK AND HANGMAN buildings at the corner of Main and Center streets will have new owners. No date for closing escrow has been announced. Democrat photo by Pat Dollins

THE HERRICK AND HANGMAN buildings at the corner of Main and Center streets will have new owners. No date for closing escrow has been announced. Democrat photo by Pat Dollins

From page A1 | February 29, 2012 | 8 Comments

Main Street in Placerville might soon have a new pair of bookends as the “Red and White” Herrick and Hangman’s Tree buildings at one end of Main  join the “Catsup and Mustard” buildings of Old City Hall at the other in restoration.

Assistant Prof. Tim Taylor, professor of Computer Information Science at Sacramento City College, and his wife, Sue, a building designer, are purchasing the buildings at 301 and 305 Main Street and have assembled a team of preservation craftsmen, including structural engineer Doug Ketron and historical brick mason Leland Petersen to do the work of restoring them to their 1850s appearance.

The Taylors, longtime Camino residents, are committed to restoring the buildings that have been the subject of controversy due to their structural condition and history. The Hangman’s Tree building houses the stump of the tree reputed to be the tree vigilantes used to hang three men in the 1850s, earning Placerville the moniker, “Hangtown.”

The seller, Frank Saunders of the Saunders Co. in Monterey, said, “Hopefully this will be a good thing for Placerville. Our company doesn’t have the wherewithall to handle what the buildings need at this time.”

Saunders said the buildings are in escrow, but declined to be more specific about the price of the buildings or the timeline for the escrow. “It’s not done until it’s done.”

Tim Taylor did not identify the source of funding for the restoration project or the price paid for the buildings.
“It would be nice if we could find a grant and we are exploring funding possibilities, but the project is not contingent upon a grant,” said Taylor.

Phase One of the restoration project will be the exterior of both buildings.

“We will restore and repair the brick of the Herrick Building to its original color,” said Taylor, “and since the Hangman’s Tree building was originally a wooden building and then was stuccoed over, we’ll remove the stucco and restore the wood work.”

Phase Two of the project will be to renovate the interior of each building, restoring structural integrity and the original look as well as seismically retrofitting. The buildings will be rented to commercial tenants and other improvements will depend on the nature and needs of the tenants.

Although Taylor said, “Timelines are sticking your neck out,”  the couple plans to start obtaining building permits in the next 60 days and move forward as quickly as possible.

“Based on the contractors’ parameters, our goal is to finish the exterior within six months.

Tim Taylor was chief renovation specialist from 1969 to 1971 on the Anasazi Indian site near Blanding, Utah, and was later hired as director of archaeology and restoration for the Edge of the Cedars project by the Utah Navajo Development Council. He plans to conduct an archeological survey of the building site and document the planning and process of the restoration with an eye to publishing a guide to restoring historical buildings.

“We are conversing with local  groups about the background and history of the buildings.”

Sue Taylor is a member of Friends of Historical Hangtown, a local organziation.

“I was working with the buildings’ owner, trying to come up with new solutions to save the buildings. I put a craftsman team together and then things evolved and led to the opportunity to make an offer on the buildings,” she said.

FHH member Sharlene McCaslin said of the restoration project, “We didn’t feel  the buildings were in as bad shape as everyone seemed to think. With the structural engineer and the historic brick mason, we went from location to location within the buildings and found the scope of work was a series of retrofits and far less expensive than we thought.”

According to McCaslin, as the Friends of Historical Hangtown and the craftsman team got bids for the project , they realized the project was viable.

The Taylors are in the process of assembling the funding package and restoration team, including choosing a contractor.

“We are excited about the project. These buildings are so important to Placerville, ” said Sue Taylor.


Discussion | 8 comments

  • kevin loweFebruary 28, 2012 - 4:05 pm

    I really hope the Hangmans Tree will re-open once the project is done. I've been to "The Tree" at the end of Smith Flat and it's just not the same. I grew up in Hangtown and would love to see Hangmans Tree back where it belongs.

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  • Evelyn VeerkampFebruary 28, 2012 - 5:46 pm

    The Taylors' purchase of these historic buildings constitutes a hugely exciting step forward for Placerville. This is "development" with a difference. Respecting the integrity of our history, it will generate new life into Main Street, helping to restore community vitality. We desperately need a shot in the arm. This is it. Thank you, Tim and Sue Taylor. You have your work cut out for you.

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  • TontoFebruary 29, 2012 - 6:08 am

    There is a silver lining in the cloud above Placerville, it will be wonderful to see the life restored to the building and downtown as well as the history kept for all who visit our great city. Thank you Sue & Tim there will be many who will help in this project so don't be afraid to ask for help.

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  • T. KlineFebruary 29, 2012 - 6:25 pm

    The best news I've heard in a long time! Bravo!

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  • Vicki & Jim ClarkFebruary 29, 2012 - 9:49 pm

    Thank you Sue & Tim for your continued devotion to the county and the City of Placerville. This is just a very small example of what the future will be if Sue is elected for Board of Supervisor, District 3. The other things Sue has done for this county and City in the past five years are too numerous to put in this small space Thank you both and best wishes,

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  • macMarch 01, 2012 - 4:42 pm

    Thanks for taking on the project of restoring an important local landmark. It surely would have withered away until it needed to be demolished and lost forever.

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  • Christina JenkinsApril 14, 2012 - 8:49 am

    This is great news...I appreciate your willingness to preserve these Historical buildings. When "Sam's Town" was torn down there seemed to be no thought of their Historical significance, it was all about the greediness of men. Nor was there any thought in the building that replaced it. It is a shame that it wasn't replaced with something that resembled the character of the buildings such as "Burks Junction" or the original buildings of "Sam's Town". Instead Ugliness Prevailed!

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  • Tracie olaveJanuary 07, 2013 - 9:51 pm

    The Herrick building was built and ran by my great great great grand parents Bruce and Ella. Even though I haven't had the pleasure to visit a part of my family history yet, I am glad someone respects the history enough to preserve and restore it so I as well as my children may someday make the journey to stand where our ancestors once called home.

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