| Art |

What's up with the swastika house in the Highland 'hood?

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

I must have driven past this old set of row-homes just off Speer Boulevard in the Highland neighborhood a thousand times before I happened to notice the odd little symbol embedded in the brickwork: a swastika. I knew the upper Highlands was getting more white, but not this white!

But wait. According to city records, the duplex was built in 1905, many years before the Nazi's began using the swastika as a symbol for the Third Reich. Prior to that, the swastika was used for centuries by multiple cultures around the world to "represent life, sun, power, strength, and good luck." This included Native Americans in the old West.

Indeed, a search for "swastika" in the Denver Public Library's western photo database turns up dozens of pre-Nazi examples of the swastika displayed around town. Back then, it seems, the swastika was used in decorative patterns on homes, no different than a paisley or swirl. (The runway layout at Denver International Airport also has the vague shape of a swastika, which some conspiracy theorist say is proof that the facility is secretly ruled by racist aliens.)

Still, I'm not sure how I would feel living in a house with a big swastika perched on its crown. Anyone else ever spotted any other old-timey swastikas around Denver?

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.