A piece of western Colorado history continues to be targeted by vandals, and it's all over the misconception of a symbol.
A large granite boulder sits in front of the Museum of the West. The location was meant to deter future vandalism, but culprits continue to damage the structure at night.
According to Historian Dave Fishell, the boulder was carved out of the cliffs of the Colorado National Monument around 1915, by John Otto, one of the founders of the monument.
There are two large W's carved into the front of the stone which stand for World Welfare. But it's the swastikas on the statue that keep getting negative attention from vandals.
Kay Fiegel, Assistant Director for the Museum of Western Colorado, says the statue has been vandalized at least three times in past years to cover up the swastikas.
But according to the time frame of the statue, the swastikas were in place decades before Hitler assumed power and turned it into a symbol of hate.
Swastikas were generally good luck symbols and were used all across the globe for thousands of years, according to Fishell.
Hitler adapted a swastika that was turned 1/4 to the left, which became the hated World War II symbol, which is different from the swastikas seen on Otto's boulder statue.
There was a large swastika on the side of the stone that was cemented over, and a smaller one in between the W's on the front that was also covered up.
"We're obviously very saddened by this, this is a very important piece of history from our area, and we have a really rich and colorful history and it's a shame that someone took the initiative to come down and deface it. Unfortunately there's a plaque behind it. Had someone taken the time to read it, perhaps they would have thought differently," said Kay Fiegel.
The plaque that's fixed on the wall behind the statue explains the meaning of the swastika at the time the statue was created.
It reads, "In 1915, Otto created the stone to celebrate the Pan Pacific Exposition. The swastika meaning at the time was life, sun, power, strength, and good luck."
Fiegel says the museum's fairly confident it'll be able to restore the statue to its original state, but it will pose more of a challenge than the previous acts of vandalism which mainly involved spray paint.
Museum officials hope people will take notice of the plaque behind the statue and educate themselves and each other so the statue won't continue to be falsely targeted in the future.
If you know anything about the vandalism, you're asked to contact the Grand Junction Police Department at 244-3555.
To learn more about the Museum of Western Colorado and all of the history that's housed there, visit http://www.gjarts.org/local-artists-groups-galleries/cultural-organization/?organization=museum-of-western-colorado-f1af0.