Hubbell Trading Post — Ganado, AZ
… this was a self sufficient ranch …
Story and photos by Karin H Wilson
My visit to Hubbell Trading Post was part of a Road Scholar tour of Pueblo Heritage in Arizona and New Mexico. I love to photograph places like this because the buildings and equipment have so much character. I was surprised to find the history of this place to be so interesting.
After the Long Walk, John Hubbell was one of the few white men trusted by the Navajo, and he is credited with helping a lot of them get back on their feet (you can read about the history of the Long Walk here). The trading post was the hub of the community where you could get mail, groceries, seed and the latest local gossip. The store is packed with memorabilia of a time long gone, but don’t be fooled — this is an active trading post! Artists still bring their wares to sell here at the Hubbell Trading Post. You can find beautiful jewelry, rugs and baskets — you can even get a bag of coffee!
Tour the Hubbell residence
We started our visit with a tour of the Hubbell residence. It is located right behind the trading post. There is almost too much to see here —every surface is covered with art of some sort. The walls are covered with paintings, drawings and photographs. The doorways have woven and beaded panels draped across the top of the door frame. The space between roof beams is filled with baskets (all woven with unique designs in them). Originally the baskets were hung on the walls, but were moved to the ceiling when Hubbell needed the room to hang art. It is an amazing collection and our guide has a lot of information to share about the Hubbell family and their home.
Explore the grounds of the Hubbell Trading Post
Outside, behind the house, is the original bread oven. The baker made hundreds of loaves a week, both for the family and to sell in the store.
In its day this was a self sufficient ranch — the property includes a barn, bunkhouse, corral and blacksmith shop. For anyone that enjoys photographing old weathered wood and metal equipment this place is full of character and opportunity.
We saw these reference boards in several places. They show dyed yarn with samples of the plants the colors come from. There is a weaving sample in the center showing the colors in use. It is attractive, clever and informative
Don’t miss the visitor center at Hubbell Trading Post
We wrapped up our visit with some time in the visitor center. There is a huge vertical loom set up right inside the entrance. A woman was weaving a fairly large beautiful rug on the loom. It appeared that she was doing an intricate pattern from memory. When I asked her about it she laughed and showed me her sketches for the design. It was all plotted out on grid paper and she was using that as a reference. While she let me take photos, she asked that I don’t post them online, otherwise I would share those with you. To see her work firsthand you will have to get over to the visitor center yourself.
The visitor center has lots of historical photos, interpretive signs and a video on the history of the Hubbell Trading Post. Navajo rugs were featured on our visit and there were examples of different weaving patterns, and a large reference chart showing what plants are used to dye the wool. There was even a gallery with some local art on display.
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Here are the details to plan your own adventure at Hubbell Trading Post
This is a worthwhile stop for anyone interested in Indian culture, southwest history, and photography. Allow 1 – 3 hours to see everything (check the “Plan Your Visit” page on the NPS website for what is available to do). The National Park Service has plenty of information on Hubbell Trading Post. The Trading Post is located 1/2 Mile W. Hwy. 191 from Ganado, AZ 86505
This trip to Hubbell Trading Post was part of a larger tour with Road Scholar. I would highly recommend this tour if you are interested in Native American culture. There was plenty of time to explore each location on the trip, and interpreters at each location shared history and answered questions. Here are the specifics on the tour: Pueblo Heritage: The Anasazi, Hopi, Navajo and Chaco Canyon
Enjoy the journey! Karin
Karin H Wilson
Artist | Designer | Photographer | Traveler | Storyteller
I am Karin and I just love to share a good story — preferably with snacks! I’m particularly interested in capturing the world’s beauty and wonder in photographs.
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