'Swastika Acres' neighborhood is changing its name because people were 'horrified'

A Colorado subdivision called Swastika Acres formally changed its name because neighbors were “horrified.”

On Tuesday, the Cherry Hills Village City Council in Denver voted to rename the neighborhood Old Cherry Hills, after a long and expensive legal process, reported local station KDVR.

The name was bestowed on the subdivision in 1910 by the Denver Land Swastika Company, which reportedly divvied the land long before Hitler used the symbol as an anti-Semitic logo. Pre-Holocaust, the swastika held positive meanings in some cultures, according to a report by the BBC, representing good luck and “well being.”

The municipality of Cherry Hills only bears the offensive title on real estate papers, but once word seeped out two years ago, people started calling the mayor.

“Jewish residents were horrified, telling me the neighborhood was called ‘Swastika Acres,” Laura Christman, who served as mayor of Cherry Hills Village from 2015 to January 2019, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I did the research and they were correct.”

Real estate documents show a Denver, Colorado subdivision's official name is Swastika Acres. A new law changed that. (Screenshot: KDVR)

One Denver resident even changed his mind about living in the subdivision after reading the real estate paperwork. “He said, ‘I can’t with good conscious, live here,’” says Christman.

Dan Sheldon, Cherry Hills Village councilman, purchased his home in 2007. “I found [the name], frankly, quite offensive,” he told 9 News. “And I thought, boy, that’s something that should get rectified.”

In 2017, Sheldon and Christman worked to legally change the subdivision name, recently passing an ordinance that required the permission of 51 percent of home owners, as opposed to 90 percent plus their lenders.

This week’s vote was unanimous, however one woman objected at first. “She thought it was important to preserve that historical value of that symbol, the swastika, even though she herself lost family members in the Holocaust,” Sheldon told KDVR.

Christman is pleased to have removed symbols for racism and anti-Semitism. “But let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “We haven’t eradicated hatred from the world.”

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