Hubbell Trading Post
Cultural Landscape Report
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SITE HISTORY (continued)


Prehistoric and Proto-historic Periods

The cultural history of northeastern Arizona, including the Pueblo Colorado Valley, begins with the Paleoindian Period of 9,500-5,500 B.C. Evidence of these primarily big game hunters in northeastern Arizona occurs as limited finds of Clovis and Folsom style artifacts. The earlier Clovis stage is represented by a few isolated Clovis projectile point finds to the south near Sanders, [11] Houck, [12] and the St. Johns/Concho/Lyman Lake vicinity; [13] westward in the Winslow area; [14] and further to the northwest in the general vicinity of Page. [15] Combined, this evidence indicates a wide-spread but light scattering of these early artifacts across this portion of the Colorado Plateau. More numerous examples of the subsequent Folsom stage have also been recovered from the same general areas, including Concho, [16] Mishongovi [17] and Awatovi [18] at the Hopi Mesas, and in the Petrified Forest; [19] all west of Ganado. While Huckell [20] reports a late Paleoindian campsite in the more immediate vicinity of Ganado, no Paleoindian Period sites have been identified within the boundaries of the park.

Figure 5. Agriculture field in nearby community of Cornfields, Arizona, 1993.

The Archaic Period (5,500 B.C.-A.D. 300) is characterized by a general shift from the earlier big game oriented subsistence to one with more emphasis on gathering and hunting of smaller animals, and, in the later stages, the beginning of maize agriculture. Archaic Period sites are more numerous than the earlier Paleoindian manifestations and have been found throughout the general area. Although no sites of this age occur within the upper Pueblo Colorado Valley, Archaic sites have been located to the south in the St. Johns/Concho region, [21] to the east in the Black Creek drainage near Window Rock, [22] and to the west in Petrified Forest National Park. [23]

The Basketmaker periods followed the Archaic Period with Basketmaker II occurring from A.D. 300-500 and Basketmaker III between A.D. 500-700. Both periods are characterized by a hunting and gathering subsistence combined with increased agricultural pursuits continued from the previous Archaic period. Basketmaker II is characterized by small, shallow pit structures and brush-and-mud surface dwellings. Basketmaker III is characterized by more formal pit houses with associated storage structures and the introduction of both plain and decorated ceramics. Several Basketmaker sites occur in the immediate vicinity of the park [24] and one Basketmaker III component occurs within its western boundary. [25]

As with the Basketmaker Period, the Pueblo Period consists of distinct sub-periods: Pueblo I-V. Pueblo I (A.D. 700-900) sites are characterized as upland sites for habitation with floodplain areas used for horticulture. As populations increased, multi-family villages were established. Site density during this period increased noticeably from the earlier Basketmaker periods and is reflected by the occurrence of three Pueblo I components within the boundaries of the park. [26]

Pueblo II (A.D. 900-1100) is characterized by a significant increase in site density across the region, by the creation of larger villages with kivas, and by more ceramic variability in styles and types. Although site density in general increased during this period, only one Pueblo II component has been identified within the park boundaries. [27]

Pueblo III (A.D. 1100-1300) sites are characterized by larger villages located near floodplains or in sheltered locations and appear more complex and communal in nature, as exemplified by Wide Reed Ruin. [28] Five Pueblo III site components, including Wide Reed Ruin, have been identified within the park boundaries, [29] Wide Reed Ruin appears to represent the terminal prehistoric occupation in the immediate Ganado area as no Pueblo IV or V sites have been identified. [30]

Athapaskan groups may have entered this portion of the Colorado Plateau prior to 1582. [31] and most certainly were west of the Continental Divide by 1620. [32] The descendants of these people include the Navajo and other Apaches. In response to the harsh natural environments they occupied, these people lived in dispersed extended family groups or bands. Although their new environment of the desert Southwest was not as harsh as the northern subarctic climates from whence they migrated, they retained this pattern of living and adapted to the sparse resources of the areas between the western pueblos of Acoma, Zuni and Hopi.

The Sand Dune Site is the earliest Navajo site identified within the park and dates ceramically to the eighteenth century. [33] This evidence supports Navajo traditional history for the age of the site. [34] Navajo occupation of the Ganado area has continued since that time and been an integral part of the history of what is now Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site.

Spanish Exploration

During the second quarter of the 16th century Spanish exploration began to penetrate northward from Mexico into Arizona. Tovar entered the area as early as 1540, Espejo in 1583, Onate in 1598 and later in 1604 and Vargas in 1692 (figure 6). A few Spanish missions and visitas were located within the Colorado Plateau area including San Francisco, San Bartolome, Walpi, San Bernardo, and San Buenaventura Mishongnovi (figure 7).

The first missions at Hopi were founded in 1629 by three Franciscan friars from New Mexico. According to Brugge, it was from New Mexico that most trade and cultural influences flowed into Navajo and Hopi territories. [35] The Mexican War of Independence (1811-1822) resulted in the neglect and decline of the missions along the northern frontier. By 1824 Mexico had established its independence from Spain and Americans from the East began heading westward to explore and expand their trade networks.

Figure 6. Routes of Spanish explorers; adapted from Walker and Bufkin (1986). (click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

Figure 7. Spanish and Mexican missions and presidios in the Arizona area; adapted from Walker and Bufkin (1986). (click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

American Military Frontier

By 1840 American hunters and trappers had ventured through the Southwest and were slowly extending the American Frontier to the Pacific Ocean and beginning around 1845 the "U.S. Government realized the need for protection of its citizens, although the country still belonged to Mexico." [36] The Mexican - American War started in May of 1846 and ended in February of 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The treaty ceded most of Arizona, a large part of New Mexico, and all of California to the United States. "During the period 1849-1886 the Army established no less than 46 camps and forts within the territory...and they were placed for strategic reasons in Mohave, Yuma, Navajo, and Apache country." [37]

As early as 1849 Camp Calhoun (later known as Camp Yuma) had been established on the Colorado River and in 1851 Fort Defiance was located on the northeastern edge of the present state of Arizona. The primary purpose of Fort Defiance was to serve as "a home base for expeditions against the Navajo Indians, but it was also located on the main wagon road from the east." [38] By 1853 the U.S. War Department had ordered surveys for the development of a transcontinental railroad route along the 35th parallel. The Atlantic and Pacific Railroad later followed this course.

As mentioned above, the late 1840's and early 1850's brought several American explorers and surveyors to the Colorado Plateau area with one of the first being Colonel John Washington and his military detachment in 1949 followed by Sitgreaves in 1851 and then Amiel Whipple in 1853. Whipple was surveying the area for a suitable route for the railroad. [39] In 1855 Captain Edward Beale led his expedition party through the area and Captain Joseph Ives of the Topographical Engineers passed through the area in 1858. The primary routes that were established through the area passed by the Zuni, Fort Defiance, and Hopi village areas (figure 8).

Figure 8. Early exploration routes into the Arizona area; adapted from Walker and Bufkin (1986). (clik on image for an enlargement in a new window)

By the late 1850's a number of stage lines began operation within the Arizona area. However, the majority of these were located in what is now the southern portion of the state. In 1866, the Santa Fe Stage Company established a route from Prescott to Denver and Kansas City. The route was located south of the Colorado Plateau area as it follows the lower portion of the Little Colorado River. This was the first commercialized transportation route in the vicinity of the Ganado area. By 1870 Peterson notes that "an express carrier had first built a shack at the crossing of the Little Colorado River which later became St. Johns". [40] Additional routes were established throughout Arizona and the Southwest during the last half of the nineteenth century (figure 9).

Arizona was first claimed as a territory of the Confederacy in February 1862 by President Jefferson Davis and Mesilla was selected to serve as the seat of government. One year later in February 1863 the U.S. Congress passed an Act to create the territory of Arizona with boundaries approximately following those of today with the addition of part of what is now lower Nevada. It was not until 1863 with the creation of the Arizona territory that Ganado was no longer under New Mexican administration, but Navajo affairs continued to be dealt with from Santa Fe. [41] The first territorial governor arrived in 1864 and established a temporary seat of government at Fort Whipple in the Little Chino Valley. The capitol was moved to Prescott and later to Tucson in 1867. The year 1877 resulted in the relocation of the capitol to Prescott where it remained until 1889 at which time Phoenix became the permanent seat of government.

Establishment of the Navajo Reservation and the Licensure of Traders

Numerous studies were reviewed regarding the Navajo trade network, the early establishment and growth of the Navajo reservation lands and the eventual licensure of traders located on the Navajo Reservation. This information has provided valuable insight into J.L. Hubbell's motivation, business acumen, and foresight into the commercial growth potential for a trader who carefully sites his trading post and cultivates his relationships with both the local community and the various bureaucracies of the U.S. government.

The earliest Navajo trade was with Spanish settlers and according to Brugge, these trade relations were documented in official reports at least as early as the 1700's. [42] William Adams notes that "extensive trading with neighboring peoples is a long-established feature of Navaho life Navaho trade with Anglo-Americans began, in the early 1800's. First contacts were sporadic and perhaps often accidental. Formal trading relations were first established with the newly colonized Mormon settlements north and west of the Colorado River in the middle of the 19th century. [43] "The development of this relationship was largely coincident with the rapid expansion of the Navahos occasioned by the Carson campaigns of 1862-63..." [44]

Adams goes on to state that it is uncertain as to how dependent the Navajo people became upon their early trade relations as "their subsistence agricultural and livestock economy flourished largely unchecked during much of the (early) 19th century, and it seems likely that the items for which they traded were chiefly in the class of luxuries, so that no functional interdependence at the subsistence level developed." [45] He then points out that a substantial turning point occurred with regard to commercial relations and the Navajo following their period of military exile at Bosque Redondo (1864-1868) and the 10 year treaty period that followed the return to their homeland. He describes the trading post system as having its roots in two distinct historical developments. "In the eastern area, beginning at Fort Defiance, it was a natural and perhaps inevitable outgrowth of the rations system; the first traders were, in fact, army "sutlers" (figure 10). They began by encouraging the Navahos to bring in their surplus wool to trade for extra rations at the ration depot, and ended by quitting Government service to make a full-time specialty of trading for Navaho wool." [46] J.L. Hubbell is noted to have started in the trading business while working at Fort Wingate as a clerk for a sutler, Mr. Coddington. [47]

"Farther to the west, trading posts were a direct outgrowth of the earlier, friendly trading relations between Navahos and Mormons beyond the Colorado River. For a longtime Navaho-Mormon trade was a sporadic affair, conducted by occasional trading expeditions sent out by both parties." [48] Early on many of the trading posts were transient enterprises, often nothing more than tents or wagons that frequently changed not only location but ownership as well. By the late 1860s fixed trading posts were becoming more common on the reservation lands and the process of licensure was clearly established and supervised by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. According to Youngblood, "the supervision of Indian trading is one of the earliest forms of regulatory activity engaged in either by this Government, or its predecessors, the Colonial governments. The authority of the Federal Government to regulate Indian trading is amply provided for in our Constitution and laws." [49]

Figure 10. The Navajo region; adapted from Bailey and Bailey (1986). (click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

As early as 1796 Congress authorized the establishment of trading posts however the licensure of traders did not become a major feature of Indian policy or an institution of true importance until the Indian removals of 1820-1840. [50] Following the Kit Carson campaigns against the Navajo people and their subsequent removal to Ft. Sumner (Bosque Redondo) where they remained for four years, they were returned to their homelands and the Navajo Reservation was established in northwestern New Mexico and northeastern Arizona. As defined by the initial treaty "the Navajo reservation included only 3.5 million acres, a small fraction of their former domain." [51] The inadequacies of the newly established reservation boundaries were identified immediately (figure 11). The first trading post opened at Fort Defiance in 1868 soon after the establishment of the Navajo's first Indian Agency. It was also in 1868 that Indian tribes "won the right to approve or disapprove all applications for traderships and began to levy taxes on trading enterprises." [52]

Utley noted that "the physical plant and all improvements on it were considered government property by virtue of their location on an Indian reservation. The trader paid for them but did not own them." [53] In addition, when a trading post changed hands the plant was listed as good will equal to the seller's valuation of the plant. [54] The trader selected his stock to meet native demands and adjusted it accordingly over the years. During the early years the traders carried the basic staples including sugar, coffee, flour, and tobacco as well as fabrics, blankets, trinkets, and baubles. Utley states that the articles "demanded by the Indians during these early years were those that fitted conveniently into the aboriginal scheme of life., superior substitutes for articles already in use. They improved, without fundamentally changing, the old way of doing things." [55]

Figure 11. Navajo Reservation boundaries; adapted from Underhill (1956). (click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

Dates various parts of the reservation were added:

A-Ex. Ord. May 17, 1884
B-Ex. Ord. May 15, 1905
     Act of Mar. 1, 1933
C-Act of May 23, 1930
D-Ex. Ord. Jan 8, 1900
E-Ex. Ord. Dec. 16, 1882
F-Ex. Ord. Oct. 28, 1878
G-Treaty of June 1, 1868
H-Ex. Ord. Dec 1, 1913
I-Ex. Ord. Apr. 24, 1886
J-Ex. Ord. Jan. 6, 1880
K-Ex. Ord. Jan. 19, 1918
     Ex. Ord. May 23, 1930
and Act of June 14, 1934
L-Ex. Ord. Nov. 14, 1901
M-Act of June 14, 1934
N-Ex. Ord. Nov. 9, 1907
     Ex. Ord. Jan. 28, 1908
O-Act of June 14, 1934

By the 1880's the trader began influencing a noticeable change in the character of commodity demand as he convinced the Indians to purchase a new variety of items and instructed them in their use. "Many articles a few years ago were not called for at all, such as fancy soaps, articles of kitchen furniture, dried and canned fruits, and all kinds of groceries" as well as farm implements and new items of hardware. [56] "Although trade was sometimes conducted by direct barter or cash purchase, nearly every trader carried his Indians on credit for most of the year. In part, this resulted from the seasonal nature of the tribal economy, for the products of most tribes (eg. furs, grain, wool) had seasonal yield." [57]

The importance of trading posts increased with time as did their numbers in and immediately adjacent to the Navajo reservation lands. In 1876 there were five trading posts in operation in and around the Navajo Reservation and by 1890 that number had increased to nearly 40 with the number increasing steadily until around 1930 (figure 12). [58] Utley notes that "unlike the business on other reservations, the Navajo trade continued to thrive and expand in the 20th century. By 1943, probably the peak of the trade there were 146 trading posts on or near the reservation of which 95 were licensed by the government. [59] It should be noted that only those trading posts operating on the reservation were licensed and that the federal government had very limited authority of those posts located outside the reservation boundaries.

Figure 12. Navajo country, 1934; taken from Youngblood (1937). (click on image for an enlargement in a new window)

Late 19th and Early 20th Century Development of Arizona Territory

By the early 1880's all of the principal towns within the new territory were connected by stage service. The introduction of transcontinental railroads was soon to follow with the Southern Pacific Company providing service in 1877 across the southern portion of the territory. The Atlantic and Pacific Railroad (now the Santa Fe) had pushed west from Albuquerque to Winslow by 1881 and was completed across the territory by 1883 thereby opening up the area to trade and commerce on both regional and national levels. [60]

"According to Underhill, it was the building of the transcontinental railroad (1881-82) which established the trading post as a permanent fixture on the Navaho Reservation. It assured the territory a steady and unlimited volume of American manufactured goods at moderate freight cost. At the same time Navaho wool and blankets could now be transported economically to Eastern markets. Gallup, railhead of the Santa Fe in 1882, became the great depot from which most of the Navaho country was supplied-as in fact it still is. Such a situation inevitably led to the development of a flourishing wholesale mercantile business specializing in trading-post supply." [61] Numerous secondary centers sprang up along the railroad as refueling and watering stations for the early trains and later developed into small depots and distribution points that served the more remote areas of Arizona. From east to west these depots/distribution points included Holbrook, Winslow, Flagstaff, and Williams. Improvements in transportation and the resulting effects on commercial and agricultural development led to a dramatic increase in the population of Arizona. During the 1870's the population increased from 9,658 to 40,440 and this number more than doubled following the completion of the railroad as the 1890 population had risen to 88,243. [62] The Navajo population was also on the increase during this period as it rose from a low 8,180 in the mid 1860's to 20,500 by 1897. [63]

By 1890 Arizona's agricultural and mining operations increased in importance and an internal transportation network gained new focus. Prior to the 1890's the driving force behind the development of transportation in the Arizona territory was the desire to establish satisfactory routes to California. By the 1900's the area was criss-crossed with rough unimproved wagon roads and trails connecting the various towns and trading centers with the railroad lines. By the 1940's the Roads Division of the Navajo Agency maintained "nearly 1,300 miles of primary roads, about the same mileage in secondary roads, and 700 miles of truck trails." [64] Of the 3,000 plus miles of existing roads the highway engineer noted that not over 150 miles could be kept open for traffic under extreme weather conditions. [65] Improvements to the roads on the reservation were initiated during the 1950's with approximately 371 miles improved between 1951 and 1958. This included improvements to Navajo Route 3, later named Highway 264 that passes through Ganado.

Comparative Summary of Other Hubbell Landscapes and Area Commerce

John Lorenzo Hubbell's business ventures within the Navajo lands started simply enough in the Fort Defiance area where he was employed as an interpreter, sutler's aid, and troubleshooter beginning in the early 1870's. [66] By 1876 Hubbell established his first trading post operation in the valley of the Pueblo Colorado Wash near the post built and operated by Charles Crary sometime around 1871. At this site, in the immediate vicinity of the present day Ganado Lake and Dam Hubbell built a new stone and log post. Sometime around 1878 or 1879, Hubbell acquired another trading post from William Leonard. Leonard had developed the post around 1874 or 1875 and it was located two miles downstream from the Hubbell and Crary posts in an area known as Pueblo Colorado or Red Town. This site was to become the best known of the Hubbell trading posts and would serve as the Hubbell family homestead and base of operations for the next eighty years.

Soon after establishing his post at Ganado Hubbell set about acquiring other trading operations on and adjacent to the Navajo Reservation. Hubbell's sons Lorenzo and Roman also acquired and established numerous posts and business ventures throughout the reservation. By 1912 Hubbell had started posts at Government Dam, Cornfields, Cedar Springs, Nazlini, Steamboat Canyon, Oraibi, Chinle, Black Mountain, Greasewood, and numerous other sites. During his late teens, Lorenzo was sent out by his father to operate and manage posts at Oraibi and Keams Canyon. Within a few years Lorenzo had started and managed posts at Pinyon, Big Mountain, Tinebito, and Na-ahtii Canyon. Around 1920 Hubbell and his partner C.N. Cotton closed their trading post at Chinle and Hubbell further diversified his operations as he turned over management of posts such as Cedar Springs to his son Lorenzo and set about acquiring farms at Pinyon Springs and Farmington, Sometime prior to 1920 Hubbell acquired 150 acres near Zuni at Pinyon Springs. According to Dorothy Hubbell they rented or leased the place, cultivated beans on the land and kept a small store. A few years later Hubbell purchased and operated two farms at Farmington. One was 80 acres and the other about 120 acres. On these farms Hubbell raised apples, grapes, and pears to supply the numerous trading posts. Hubbell also owned numerous sections of rangeland which he subsequently leased over the years.

From 1915 through 1918, while both J.L. and Lorenzo were busy operating and managing trading posts throughout the reservation, Roman was operating his father's large warehouse in Gallup. Roman later returned to Ganado to assist in the management of the farm operation and during the late 1930's he and his wife Dorothy took on a variety of business endeavors including a tour operation which they ran from 1937 to 1945. Lorenzo Hubbell Jr. died in 1942 and many of his trading post operations were taken over by his younger brother Roman and Roman's wife Dorothy Hubbell. These included the posts at Pinyon, Tinebito, Na-ahtii Canyon, Oraibi, Black Mountain, Marble Canyon, Big Mountain, as well as the wholesale/retail warehouse in Winslow. Other business operations owned and managed by Roman and Dorothy included a retail outlet on Route 66, a motel, cafe and store at Marble Canyon, and a service station and garage with a franchise from DeSoto and Plymouth. Outside of the Arizona area Dorothy and Roman owned and operated Curio Outlets in Santa Monica, Long Beach, and Hollywood, California. The majority of the Hubbell land and business holdings were sold by Roman and Dorothy during the early 1950's although they retained the Hubbell trading post and homestead at Ganado.

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Last Updated: 26-Apr-2004