America's Best History Spotlight

On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.

Interior Hubbell Trading Post

Hubbell Trading Post, Arizona

By the time John Lorenzo Hubbell purchased the property of the Trading Post in 1878, ten years after the Navajo nation had returned from a four year exile at Bosque Redondo, Fort Sumner, New Mexico, he thought that it was a good time to begin trading his goods for Navajo wears. The Hubbell family continued that tradition for nearly one hundred years, until 1967 when the National Park Service bought the property. But don't despair, the Western National Parks Association still maintains its trading tradition, while the NPS tells its story. Image above: Interior of the Hubbell Trading Post bullpen, 2010. Courtesy Library of Congress.

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Info, What's There Now, History Nearby

Hubbell Trading Post

Hubbell Trading Post NHS, Arizona

So one consequence of the Navajo exile in Fort Sumner is that they had gotten used to some of the items from camp life and wanted them when they got home. So Hubbell, who owned more than just one trading post, was perfectly willing to trade his goods for theirs. Native American Hopi pots, bowls, dolls, baskets, and rugs, among other items were sold there. It's assumed liquor was available at the bullpen. We're not certain of that.

An amazing part of a visit to the post is that almost everything the Hubbell's owned is preserved on the site. It's truly a timecapsule to the hundred years that they owned the property and the lifestyle that they had both personally and as entrepreneurs in Navajo territory.

Image above: Stereograph image of the interior of the Hubbell Trading Post, the Moqui pottery room, with likely John Hubbell at a desk in the background, 1905, unknown author. Courtesy National Park Service. Below: Bullpen of the Hubbell Trading Post, 1918. Courtesy National Park Service.

Bullpen of the Hubbell Trading Post, 1918

Where Is It

Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site is located at Mile Post 446.3 on AZ State Route 264. If you're traveling I-40, the site is about forty miles north of the Petrified Forest area up AZ 191, then west on AZ 264. You are about sixty miles from Gallup, New Mexico, and 200 miles from Albuquerque. Flagstaff, Arizona is 180 west. The Navajo Transit system does run buses to and from Ganado.

What is There Now

Hubbell Trading Post NHS

There's a visitor center with new interpretive exhibits plus orientation and guided tours some days. It is not always open, but a contact station outside has maps of the site. The site is more than the Trading Post itself, it's the Hubbell homestead with a home, guest house, barns, and other buildings. There's also animals; think chickens, horses, and sheep. In December, there's a special Luminari night.

Of course, what you've really come to see is the Trading Post, the Bullpen, and to shop for authentic Native American goods, or park store goods. There is a picnic area near the Visitor Center. The site is situated on one hundred and sixty acres.

When Open and How Much

Open daily, except major holidays, with differing hours in the winter. Call ahead to make sure of the situation that day. There are guided tours some days and no fee to enter the historic site.

Fees subject to change.

Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site

History Nearby

You're in northeast Arizona, so you're rather close to some spectacular southwest sites both in that state, Colorado, and New Mexico. National Park sites like Petrified Forest, Mesa Verde, Glen Canyon, and Grand Canyon. There's some smaller gems, too, although some might not be right around the corner.

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