Heil Highlands?
Heil Highlands?

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

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?


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