SWASTIKA, N.Y. — It might not sound like the most inviting place, but Swastika, New York, is sticking with its name.
The town board in Black Brook, which has domain over the tiny hamlet, voted unanimously earlier this month to retain the moniker.
A proposal to drop the name — which most Americans associate with the Nazi symbol and anti-Semitism — was added to the agenda after a New York City man bicycling through the Adirondacks happened upon Swastika and then called local officials to see if they would consider changing its name, NPR reported.
The town’s four councilors discussed the matter for five minutes before voting it down, according to NPR.
Black Brook Town Supervisor Jon Douglas, who was at the meeting but did not have a vote, said Swastika’s founders named it before World War II. He noted that it comes from the Sanskrit word meaning well-being, and that the swastika symbol has been used for thousands of years in Indian religions and seen as a symbol of good luck.
"I think that's probably maybe some viewpoint that it's associated with hate,” Douglas told NPR. “But then I believe there are others that do not associate it with hate. Did the Hindus and the [Buddhists] and all them, did they erase it from their religious history because of the Germans?"
Swastika is located in Clinton County, about 25 miles from Lake Champlain and 50 miles from the Canadian border.
"We regret that individuals, for out of the area, that lack the knowledge of the history of our community become offended when they see the name," Douglass told CNN. "To the members of our community, that the board represents, it is the name that their ancestors chose."