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John Kogel

Buddhists go here, Nazis over there

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I think I posted pics of this place before. The Traveler's Hotel in Ladysmith, BC. Built before Hitler got his first pair of lederhosen. There was talk of changing the facade in the late 30's, but it never got done.

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One more time.....

The Buddhist swastika is oriented one way, the nazi swastika another. The Buddhist has the legs going "counter clockwise", and the nazi clockwise.

Burnham boilers and the hotel were looking for peace, prosperity, and general goodness in the universe. Hitler took the form and turned it backwards, flipped it to a 45? angle, hence......

Hakenkreuz.

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...I may be wrong, but am not Googling it up. My understanding of the ancient swastika image was that it started with the Hindus. But then, to quote Alan Watts, Buddhism is Hinduism stripped for export.

As far as the use on this building, I'm sure the masons/designers just thought it would make a cool looking detail.

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Buddhist, Hindi.....I don't know. I recall something about the origin being claimed both ways. I'm willing to let either claim it.

As far as the other part.....

There was a period in early 20th century American social considerations where there were a lot of individuals advocating religions and ideas other than what we consider traditional (Christian). There were several folks completely involved in the idea of multiculturalism being the truest realization of our democratic mosh pit.

The folks that put the money up for the Bahai temple in Wilmette, thought Bahahualla (sp?), with the emphasis on the convergence of all religions, was the most true religion for America. They built a temple that's right out of Islam in the middle of white anglo-wasp heaven.

If one travels to Livingston, MT and visits the train station (built 1902), they'll see a marvel of classic architecture where one of the primary accent details is a Yin-Yang symbol adorning the capitals of the columns and cornice decoration.

So, I don't think the swastika use on these buildings and boilers was just a token use of an interesting symbol. It was Americans exercising their beliefs that America was the place where cultures and religions could all come together.

Maybe I got it wrong. Even if I'm wrong, I'm sticking with it.

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