Swastika in Graceland Cemetery

In Graceland Cemetery, there’s a tombstone for a formerly famous Chicagoan by the name of McClurg. I don’t know if it’s the same as the publisher A. C. McClurg, but I do know there is a swastika on the grave marker. He died well before Nazis came to power. So what’s the deal? Why is there a swastika on his grave? And did it raise any problems after Hitler and his brown shirts started using the swastika as their emblem?

The swastika symbol was around way before the Nazis used it. I guess when people look at his grave they probably wonder why it’s there.

Correct. In the U.S., it was used by the Navajo and Hopi Indians long before Hitler put it to such evil use: Swastika - Wikipedia

It was a symbol of good luck and was somewhat widely used in the U.S. before the Nazis came along. The 45th Infantry Division changed its unit insignia from a swastika to a thunderbird as WW2 loomed. See here: Western use of the swastika in the early 20th century - Wikipedia

Here’s the tombstone - and the swastika detail. Notice that the arms of the swastika go in the opposite direction compared to the ones on a Nazi swastika.
The swastika is an ancient symbol (often signifying the sun or the “wheel of life” etc.) and is known as far back as the Indus Valley Civilization. The wikipedia article show just how common the symbol was before the Nazis picked up on it. The McClurg tombstone already incorporates Christian and Celtic designs, so why not fill out that little blank square with one of the most widely known symbols? It has also been used by several esoteric societies - perhaps McClurg was a member of one of those. IMO the most intriguing symbol on the tombstone is something that look like sabres hidden under the foliage at the bottom - it looks like the letters “US” are written on the handles. I wonder what that signifies.
ETA: It appears thatA.C. McClurg was a general in the civil war - it probably has something to do with that.

I read a novel recently set in Imperial Russia and Tsarina Alexandra wore a swastika ring which she said represented something along the lines of “good vibes.” Of course she was much more eloquent, but it was just a symbol of spiritual well-being. The Wikipedia article really is very interesting.

Since the original question has been answered, I’ll just point out that it is interesting (ironic?) that both the Swastika and the Star of David hearken to (or at least were used in) Ancient India… Cycles of Life, indeed!

The Master speakson the origins of the swastika.

An earlier Dope discussion: When will the swastika be freed of Nazi associations? - Great Debates - Straight Dope Message Board

the decorative stonework on the Indian High Commission in London contains one, as well.

It must’ve been common all over the Midwest USA with Native American tribes, 'cause you can see it all over. Most (but not all) the Swastikas go the opposite way the Nazi one does.

I’ve seen them on graves, on buildings, on schools, on signs. But I’ve only seen them in the Midwest like Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin etc

The office building my company used to be in was built in around 1999. They, quite bravely for a commercial building, included a swastika as a pond decoration in the internal garden, which was very visible from the main lobby. There was a small explanatory plaque, somewhat out of the way, but I’m not aware there were any complaints about it.

The Catholic Charities building downtown has a pattern of swastikas on the building. (It was built back in the 1910s, I think) They’re not really obvious, because it’s rather intricate.

The Navy has a building that when seen from above is a swastika shape. Nobody really noticed it much until Google maps got popular so they are changing the building shape now.

Just last night I spotted a swastika in the illustrations in Rudyard Kipling’s “Just So Stories” (which have a heavy Indian influence).

My Granddad had a set of old wooden poker chips from the 1930s with swastikas on the back. I don’t remember which way they pointed, though.

My mother, back in the 1980s, returned a pair of beautiful gold earrings to India that had swastikas on them, saying that “people just don’t wear them here”.

I am hoping that eventually it will be distinguished from the Nazis, and that people will stop and think and try and figure out if the person using them really is a Nazi, as clearly the OP did. (Thanks.)

I mean, if you went to any of our temples we have swastikas there…nothing to do with the Nazis at all. It really annoys me that they had to rob us - yes, I know they did a million worse things. Of course I know! Just add my complaint to the bottom of the list.

I like how the swastika is in the middle of that Star of David. Completely unintentional irony.

Note that, despite what’s apparently common belief, the Nazis didn’t invent the right-pointing swastika. Swastikas of all kinds pointing in both directions were common a long time before the Nazis.

A few years back a church in St. Cloud MN replaced a bunch of swastika disks which were in the church since 1930.
Church website here

There is a tiny town in Ontario, Canada named Swastika. It’s pretty jarring if you happen upon it without knowing about it in advance.

The swastika is a symbol of cleanliness.