Why the Hell Is This Subdivision Still Named 'Swastika Acres'?

After more than a century, it looks like city officials are finally going to change it.

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Jan 18 2019, 8:20pm

Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images

For the past 111 years, a seemingly innocuous subdivision in a Denver suburb has been afflicted by a truly, truly shitty name: Swastika Acres. But at long last, it looks like the city is finally getting around to changing it, the Denver Post reports.

According to the Post, the roughly 50-home subdivision in Cherry Hills Village, just south of Denver, was originally dubbed "Swastika Acres" by the Denver Swastika Land Co., a company from the early 1900s that used the word back before it was co-opted by the Nazis and became the single strongest icon of hate in modern memory. The land company disappeared, but its unfortunate namesake somehow stayed intact.

Thankfully, the name isn't plastered on any subdivision gates anymore, but "Swastika Acres" is still listed on city documents and house deeds—and both homeowners and Cherry Hills Village city officials are ready to retire the name for good.

“I first heard about it in 2007 when I was buying my home in Cherry Hills Village,” Dan Sheldon, a city council member, told the Post. “I was blown away when I came across a plat that had Swastika Acres on it.”

Now sure, the swastika symbol has a long and varied past, and it's been associated with a variety of things over the years, like, for instance, Buddhist iconography. That point has been made countless times by annoying teenage contrarians trying and failing to sound educated, but come on. It should go without saying, but apparently, it needs to be said: The swastika is a symbol forever tainted by the atrocities of Nazi Germany, and it should not be the name of a goddamn suburban subdivision in Colorado in 2019.

“This type of thing is not acceptable anymore,” Cherry Hills Village Mayor Laura Christman told the Post. “The name has morphed into a symbol we don’t want in our village anymore.”

The city council has put together a petition for the name change and, if a majority of the homeowners sign on and file the proper paperwork, Swastika Acres could finally get the new name it so desperately needs sometime this year. It's unclear what, exactly, the new name of the subdivision would be, but it shouldn't be too hard—"Swastika Acres" is a pretty low bar to clear.

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