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National Hotel verandah being rebuilt

This spring, after two years of being off-limits, one of the best bird’s eye views of Nevada City’s Broad Street will be back in business when the balcony at the National Hotel reopens.

City and county officials ordered the National’s owner, Tom Coleman, to close the balcony in the summer of 2002 after it was deemed structurally unsafe. Time and the elements had taken their toll, particularly in the form of dry rot, on the venerable verandah, a prime spot to watch the city’s Fourth of July parade.

Coleman, who has owned the historic hotel since 1979, said he finalized a contract this week to begin work on the balcony.



“It was built 100 years ago, so some of the beams suffered from dry rot,” Coleman said. “We’re going to remove the entire verandah and replace it with a new one.”

Design, approval and permitting has been “a long process,” Coleman said. Due to increased state building code requirements, he said structural specifications call for him to use larger beams and joists. In the past, the balcony has accommodated groups of 50 people.




“I was hoping to have it done by January, but we had some setbacks,” he said.

That included an injury the carpenter suffered on an unrelated job. He will be turning 10 of the balcony’s large supporting posts on a lathe. The new posts will be identical to what is being removed, Coleman said, as will other elements of the structure. Coleman said sections of the balcony railing will be reused.

The hotel, built in 1852, and particularly the balcony, are a favorite of visitors, Coleman said.

“We do a lot of weddings out there during the summer,” he said. “But we haven’t been able to do that for the last two years.”


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