A Colorado city council recently voted (unanimously) to change the name of a subdivision called “Swastika Acres” to “Old Cherry Hills.” I’m guessing this was probably one of the easier votes council members ever had to cast. I am firmly against renaming places and things and eviscerating history, but, in this case, I might have made an exception myself. Even though the subdivision had no connection whatsoever to Nazis or Naziism and was named after the Denver Land Swastika Company that divvied up area land decades before the Third Reich came into being. State law previously required approval of 100 percent of the landowners involved to change a municipal name such as this, but the city council obtained an ordinance requiring only 51 percent approval. Whew.
In the days since the town of Cherry Hills Village renamed its subdivision, many other towns, localities, places and entities have followed suit. Anal Wart, Massachusetts, Snot-eater Shores, California, Maggot Town, Maryland and Earwig Hills, Alabama have all been given new monikers, as has Syphilis Junction, New Mexico. The “Rotting Fish Community Pool” in Siren, Wisconsin has been renamed the “Siren Wisconsin Community Pool.” Additionally, the “Slaughterhouse Grill” in Omaha, Nebraska has been reborn as the “Omaha Steak House” and the “Dachau View Apartments” in Syracuse, New York have been rechristened “The Suites at Terrace gardens.”
This is considered to be the most rapid period of relabeling since 1981, when three cities in the U.S. switched the name of their primary thoroughfares from “Slain Street” to “Main Street” in the same month that Hellhole, Illinois became Grand View, Illinois and Chrysler rebranded its “KKK-car” as simply the “K-car.”