Hubbell Trading Post
Administrative History
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John Cook 1966-1969

From mule skinner to Director of the Southwest Region is the story of John Cook's career with the National Park Service. And when he took that job in 1953 as a mule skinner at Saguaro National Monument he became the third generation of Cooks to be employed by the NPS (the Cooks' daughter, Kayci, Chief of Interpretation at Apostle Island, is the fourth generation of the family to work for the NPS). By 1958 he was Administrative Officer at Chaco Canyon. After some time out for military service, he returned as Chief Park Ranger at Navajo National Monument, and from there he went to Yellowstone as a Sub-District Ranger.

Cook returned to the Southwest as Assistant Superintendent at Canyon de Chelly, then moved to Hubbell Trading Post (in 1966) to bring the trading post into the National Park System. He was the new national monument's first superintendent. He then took over the joint superintendency of Hubbell Trading Post and Canyon de Chelly, and from that position he became the General Superintendent of the Navajolands Group, which included Aztec Ruins, Chaco Canyon, Canyon de Chelly, Hubbell Trading Post, El Morro, Wupatki, and Sunset Crater. He worked for a time in Scottsdale, Arizona, to establish the Southern Arizona Group, and then he left the Southwest for a time, off to San Francisco to take a Deputy Regional Director's job, then to Washington, D.C., as Associate Director of the National Park Service.

He returned to the Southwest in the mid-1970s to become Regional Director, but in less than two years he transferred to Alaska to assume the position as Alaska's first Regional Director. He left there in 1983 to be the Superintendent at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

John Cook has been Regional Director of the Southwest Region again since 1986. His university studies were in business administration. Cook and his family went to Hubbell Trading Post before it was officially a national historic site, and they lived in what is called the Manager's Residence. He had a desk and a filing cabinet in what is now the jewelry room. He considers bringing Hubbell Trading Post into the National Park System one of the highlights of a long and varied career.

Supt. John Cook

Figure 51. John Cook, Superintendent of Hubbell Trading Post NHS from 1966-1969. NPS photo.

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Last Updated: 28-Aug-2006