Hubbell Trading Post
Cultural Landscape Report
NPS Logo

SITE HISTORY (continued)


Decline of the Hubbell Trading Post and Farm (1923-1967)

The early 1920's seems to have been a time of change for the trading post, its operation, and the landscape around it. The deteriorated condition of the old Leonard trading post complex was seen as a potential hazard with the young Hubbell children playing in and around the structures so in 1923 the buildings were razed. The area was soon converted to flower gardens and the circular stone planter was constructed. Roman brought in numerous pieces of petrified wood which were used to define planting beds for the flowers. Also during this time the area to the northwest of the main residence was irrigated and cultivated for a variety of vegetables (figure 31).

Dorothy Hubbell mentioned that the stone wall that encloses the yard area and the raised flagstone walk were built in the years following her marriage which was in 1921. [118] It is hypothesized by this author that the wall was constructed following the removal of the Leonard buildings in 1923. Also about this time a small two room stone and adobe building was constructed to the northeast of the trading post. This structure housed the batteries for the Delco generator. The following year, 1924, Mr. Hubbell leased the small tract of land known as the "school tract" to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and a small stone school house building was constructed just a few feet north of the smaller Delco building (figure 32).

Other changes during the mid-1920's included the construction of two hogans just north of the enclosed yard of the main family residence. These hogans were constructed for overnight lodging and use by customers who traveled long distances to trade at the post. These hogans were later removed by the Hubbell family during the 1950's due to problems with gambling and bootlegging activities. This period also saw a few changes to the road system that ran by the trading post. The main road continued to run north-south just to the east of the post but the need to ford the Pueblo Colorado Wash was eliminated as the Bureau of Indian Affairs constructed a highway bridge across the wash. The historic road and this early bridge are no longer existing although the pylons are still evident today.

In 1926, J.L. Hubbell returned to live in Ganado as his health was deteriorating. According to LaCharles Eckel, Hubbell's granddaughter, it was around 1926 that the family constructed a large water tower just west of the kitchen immediately adjacent to the bread ovens (figure 33). The northern bread oven was demolished about this time and the southern oven was rebuilt to its modern appearance. Water was taken from the well located north of the trading post and carted in a barrel placed on a sled. The barn man and his white horse, Whitey hauled the barrels of water over to the tower location where it was pumped up into the tower using a gasoline pump. The water tower was removed during the mid to late 1930's. By 1929 the landscape, especially in the vicinity of the residence had begun to take on a new and more cultivated appearance as foundation plantings were added around the north side of the residence and the elevated berm measuring approximately 8' wide was planted and maintained in grass lawn (figure 34). A variety of both native and exotic flowers were planted in the front yard garden including calendulas, lilacs, roses, dahlias, yucca, sweet peas, Virginia creeper, lace vine, and honeysuckle (figure 35).

Hubbell's grandchildren
Figure 31. Hubbell's grandchildren in garden area northwest of the Hubbell home. (HUTR 22824).

Hubbell's household helpers
Figure 32. Hubbell's household helpers, Daisy and Elizabeth in front of Delco building on schoolhouse tract, around 1920. (HUTR 7126).

water tower
Figure 33. Water tower support adjacent to bread oven, around 1926-1930. (HUTR 4436).

The late 1920's also saw a change in the operation of the farm as the family shifted from horse and mule drawn plows to the use of their first tractor. The alfalfa fields, fruit trees and vegetable gardens were cultivated and irrigated with regularity throughout this period. The family maintained over sixty mules and horses for hauling freight and a burro for the children to ride. They also kept some cattle, milk cows, goats, and a variety of pets for the children to play with (figures 36 and 37). According to Peterson, the Hubbells were very active in the sheep and goat trade during the 1920's. They purchased herds and collected them at Ganado for resale in whatever markets they could find. [119] In order to separate the sheep according to category a variety of pens were constructed and used by the family. The categories included aged and broken mouthed ewes, wethers of advanced age, yearling wethers and sheep, runt herds, and various goat categories. [120] The sheep were maintained and grazed on the property as they accumulated herds through their trading operations and held them until shipping time. They were then driven to railroad loading pens at either Chambers or Gallup. The family also maintained several hundred head of cattle up until the 1930's. Two large corrals were constructed across the wash from the trading post and west of Hubbell Hill (figure 38). Remnants of these structures may be found today.

Hubbell family members
Figure 34. Hubbell family members in front of Hubbell home, around 1929; L-R, Barbara, John Lorenzo, Roman, Dorothy, and John [sitting]. (HUTR 4500).

Hubbell flower garden
Figure 35. Hubbell flower garden area, before 1930, with summer house, stone planter, and sundial. (HUTR 8722).

Hubbell corral and shed
Figure 36. Hubbell corral and shed, around 1920-1930. (HUTR 4455).

Hubbell grandchildren
Figure 37. Hubbell grandchildren in front of Hubbell home, around 1915. (HUTR 4492).

Hubbell horse and cattle corrals
Figure 38. Hubbell horse and cattle corrals west of Hubbell Hill on north side of Pueblo Colorado Wash. (HUTR 4565).

According to Cook and Brown, an extension to the wareroom of the trading post was built during the late 1920's but not immediately completed. [121] By 1931 photographs reveal that the structure was roofed although later photographs dating from the 1940's and 1950's and a watercolor dated 1953 show the building unroofed with ceiling vigas in various conditions. [122] This structure was later converted to a laundromat in 1964.

J.L. Hubbell died in November of 1930 and that same year Roman and Dorothy moved to Gallup and had their boys attend school in town. Following his death, Hubbell's children continued to play active roles in the management of the trading post and farm. For awhile, Roman and Lorenzo worked to expand their involvement in the livestock trade. Peterson attributes this as a response to the heavy debts that they were under as well as a response to the newly established policy of livestock reduction applied to the Navajo Reservation. [123] After the hard winter of 1932 some of this initiative was lost although they continued to purchase sheep part and parcel of their trading operations at Ganado. Barbara Goodman stayed on at the post and continued to serve as postmaster until the late 1930's at which time she moved to Gallup to live with Roman and Dorothy. About this same time the Parkers returned to Ganado and remained until Mrs. Parkers death in July of 1938. Even during the periods when members of the Hubbell family were not in residence at the Ganado home and trading post their influence over its operation and management was substantial.

Several changes occurred around the trading post during the early to mid-1930's including fire damage to the roof of the garage attached to the stone residence used by farm hands and freighters leading to its demolition a few years later. Also removed sometime between 1931 and 1944 was the southern wagon/cattle shed and the currently existing shed was built in its place. [124] According to both LaCharles Eckel and Dorothy Hubbell, the family switched from using the Delco plant in the 1930's and began using a Kohler for their energy needs. A few years later they converted to using a diesel generator which was housed in the utility building adjacent to the chicken house.

In 1934 construction began on the stone guest hogan as Roman wanted to build it as a standing memorial to his father. This structure was not fully completed until the early 1940's. Sometime around 1933 building modifications and additions were apparently made to the school house building complex, however it remains unclear as to the actual dates of construction for many of the structures. The earlier stone structure was likely incorporated into the new building design and the adjacent structures including a pump house and root cellar were constructed. [125] A frame residence was added to the site during the 1940's for use by the teachers and by the early 1950's the structures were converted for use as the area chapter house.

Around 1935 Pete Balcomb came out to Ganado with his family and began managing the trading post for the Hubbells. Dorothy Hubbell noted that while Pete Balcomb was running the post during the early 1940's, Bob and Betty Dillon operated the place as a guest lodge. This continued at least for two summers. It was during this time that the picnic area immediately to the north of the guest hogan was constructed and included a stone picnic table with stone benches, a brick lined barbecue pit, a flagstone paving area, and a wagon wheel light fixture (figure 39). In 1944 LaCharles Goodman Eckel, Hubbell's granddaughter and her family returned to Ganado and remained there until late 1945. Roman and Dorothy Hubbell continued to oversee the management of the Ganado operation from their home in nearby Winslow.

Although gasoline had been sold at the Ganado trading post for several years it was not until the early 1920's that a gas pump was added to the trading post landscape and by the early 1950's a modern-style gas pump was located immediately east of the trading post entrance (figure 40). By 1953 Dorothy and Roman had returned to live at the Ganado family residence and manage the property onsite. As Roman's health declined, the family strictly limited the number of overnight guests to the property and limited them to the guest hogan. Photographs from the mid 1950's and 1960's reveal the entrance sign board and bell and extensive flower gardens cultivated by Dorothy Hubbell (figures 41, 42, and 43). Roman Hubbell's health continued to deteriorate and he died in 1957. Farming activities were discontinued in the 1950's although Dorothy continued to manage and operate the trading post and residence until 1967 at which time the National Park Service acquired the property.

Dorothy Hubbell
Figure 39. Dorothy Hubbell in picnic area adjacent to guest hogan, 1954. (HUTR 8721).

Hubbell Trading Post
Figure 40. East side of Hubbell Trading Post, around 1950; note gas, pump and Coca Cola sign. (HUTR 7114).

sign board and bell
Figure 41. Sign board and bell at entrance to Hubbell yard, around 1955. (HUTR 4587).

Hubbell family members
Figure 42. Hubbell family members in flower garden area in front of Hubbell home; note silicified wood used to delineate flowerbeds.

LaCharles Eckel
Figure 43. LaCharles Eckel in Hubbell flower garden. (HUTR 7132).

<<< Previous <<< Contents >>> Next >>>

Last Updated: 26-Apr-2004