Monday, May 10, 2010

The Hubble Trading Post

by John Aldrich

For those interested in the Trading Post era of Navajo History or just  Western Americana in general, a visit to the Hubble Trading Post in Ganado, Arizona is a must.

John Lorenzo Hubble established a trading post here in 1878, only ten years after the Long Walk period  ended. He purchased 160 acres for roughly $37. At that point Ganado was not yet part of the reservation so his purchase was from the U.S. Government, and the site remains an in-holding within the current reservation.

He quickly established a successful business by learning Navajo and maintaining scrupulously honest and fair trading practices. Ultimately he created a trading empire by buying or establishing a number of other trading posts. The Hubble Trading Post was turned over to the National Park Service in 1965 but remains an active business trading with the local Navajo. It is the oldest continuously operating business in northern Arizona.

In addition to the trading post itself,  a highlight of a visit is a tour of the Hubble home next door. Hubble was active in politics as well as the arts and hosted many luminaries of his era including Teddy Roosevelt and the painter Maynard Dixon. The home has not changed since the last Hubble descendant moved out in 1967.

The walls remain covered with the original art he collected. He often accepted pieces of art in lieu of payment for services. The ceiling between the beams is filled with an extensive collection of Native American baskets from throughout the Southwest.

This is one of the two Maynard Dixon paintings in the collection.

This is Tina Lowe, a Navajo woman who was our tour guide. She was very knowledgeable, and much of the information that I am passing on here was gleaned from her discourse during the tour. In addition to working for the Park Service, Tina is a grandmother and weaver. She also was aware of the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program and had been to Salt Lake City to volunteer during the Olympics.

This exterior view shows problems with the adobe walls. Tina explained that their adobe expert had left and that currently they had no one to perform the repairs that are needed on a nearly annual basis.

A wall hanging in the kitchen displays a variety of corn.

The museum aspect of the site isn't limited to the trading post and home. The grounds are full of tools and farming implements. There is a large barn as well with many artifacts from the Hubble era.

The stone hogan on the left was used for ceremonial purposes in Hubble's time and is now used as a guest house for an artist-in-residence program. At the top of the hill in the background John Lorenzo Hubble and his wife are buried.


  1. Fascinating about the Hubble Trading Post. Thanks to Tina for information. Definitly an interesting place to visit. The painting is beautiful. It is nice they are buried nearby where they lived. Great pictures.

  2. Love all your posts, John. They are always informative and the photos are amazing. Thank you for keeping the blog!