In 2004 I was out with my bf and his mother when something made me stop in front of a building in my hometown. It was then I had to take a double look for on the building were swastikas. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find information on this strange architectural decoration for about 16 years.
On and off I would seek to answer this mystery but never get anywhere. There was a lot of unknowing even from those you would think may hold an answer and it seems that the building that originally caught my eye was even changed to cover up the facade. At that point I thought I had lost my chance.
And then today I finally came upon a partial answer and a suggestion to yet another location within the same town with the same motif. Fortunately I have a wonderful hubbie who allowed me to go out there and snap a pic.
The mystery may not be fully solved but I am finally content that I wasn't crazy nor making all this up. And that is good enough for me for now..
QUESTION: Why are swastikas on the front of the building at 123 S. Main St.? How long have they been there? Who put them there? Why are they still there?
ANSWER: From the tone of these questions, I bet you’re thinking of the swastika that’s associated with the flag of the Nazi Party and Adolf Hitler.
The downtown designs are not those swastikas, and we’ll get to that in minute. But first, some history.
The swastika comes from the Sanskrit word “svastika,” which means “good fortune” or “well-being,” and it was used all over the world and for at least 5,000 years before Hitler came into the picture, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s website.
“The motif (a hooked cross) appears to have first been used in Neolithic Eurasia, perhaps representing the movement of the sun through the sky,” the website said. “To this day, it is a sacred symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Odinism.”
In the beginning of the 20th century, the swastika was still used in Europe as a symbol of good luck and success or fortune -- until people began using it as a symbol of “Aryan identity” or German nationalist pride, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s website said.
“After World War I, a number of far-right nationalist movements adopted the swastika. As a symbol, it became associated with the idea of a racially ‘pure’ state. By the time the Nazis gained control of Germany, the connotations of the swastika had forever changed.”
The symbol shows up in Native American cultures, too, which also pre-date Nazi Germany. Search “Navajo whirling log” online for an example.
As for the designs on the building in downtown Ottawa, they’re “very likely” a Native American design, Deb Barker, director of the Franklin County Historical Society, said. She also confirmed that they pre-date World War II and have nothing to do with the Third Reich.