Hubbell Trading Post
Cultural Landscape Report
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The cultural landscape associated with the Hubbell Trading Post complex is significant in that it comprises one of the most complete assemblages of landscape resources associated with an early Navajo trading post operation.

This landscape represents the design and development of an expanding trading post operation in Northeastern Arizona within the immediate vicinity of the Navajo Nation. While the existing Hubbell Trading Post landscape reveals the evolution of a rural vernacular landscape through a continuum of use that dates from the last quarter of the nineteenth century to the present day, the period of significance ranges from 1874 through 1967 with the primary period being defined as the period from 1874 through 1930 at which time J.L. Hubbell died and his heirs undertook full management of the trading post and associated business operations. Following J.L. Hubbell's death a variety of changes were implemented with regard to the trading post and farm landscape, however many of these changes were temporary in nature and did not alter the overall spatial organization and land use patterns originally established by J.L. Hubbell.

The Hubbell landscape contains numerous features that not only represent but also help define the various land use practices that have occurred over the past century. While very little information has been located to provide insight into the use of the landscape prior to the 1890's, we know that the site was first developed as a trading post location by William Leonard in or around 1874. Archival and photographic records provide us with a glimpse of the landscape design and development associated with this early trading post complex (figure 82).

Around 1878 John Lorenzo Hubbell purchased the Leonard Trading Post and within a few years had begun to modify the design of the original complex. During the 1880's Hubbell brought in a partner, a Mr. C.N. Cotton and by 1885 Cotton had acquired full ownership of the operation. In 1894 J.L. Hubbell once again purchases the trading post and operates it until his death in 1930. The trading post continued under the ownership and management of the Hubbell family until 1967 at which time the property is purchased by the National Park Service. The enacting legislation for the establishment of the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site states that the post should continue in an operational mode similar to that of an active trading post.

Leonard buildings
Figure 82. Historic photograph of the Leonard buildings, pre-1913. (RP 313).

Through its continuum of use over the past 94 years the Hubbell Trading Post and its associated landscape resources serve as a reminder of the settlement and developmental history of both the Southwestern United States and the Navajo Nation. Because of the intact nature of this cultural landscape and its varied components and associated resources it is found to be significant under National Register criteria A, B, C, and D. Criterion A applies to properties associated with events that have made significant contributions to the broad patterns of history including but not limited to exploration, settlement, farming, and ranching. Criterion B applies to properties associated with individuals whose specific contributions to history can be identified and documented. The individuals significance may be within a local, State, or National historic context. J.L. Hubbell was definitely a significant figure on the local and State level and even to some degree on the National level (particularly during the first quarter of the twentieth century). Criterion C applies to properties whose physical design reflects distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction (such as late nineteenth - early twentieth century trading posts on the Navajo reservation). Criterion D applies to properties that have yielded or are likely to yield, information important to prehistory or history. Surface or subsurface remains may provide information about agricultural or industrial land uses, settlement patterns, or ceremonial traditions. [131]


As noted in the statement of significance described above, the period of significance has been identified as 1874 to 1967 with the primary period identified as 1874 through 1930. This period represents the continuum of use associated with the early development and evolution of the trading post operation. The Leonard period of development (1874 to 1878) is included in this primary period of significance because it laid the groundwork for Hubbell's later developments. Leonard selected the site on the Pueblo Colorado Wash and established the first layout of the trading post operation. His developments were then expanded upon by John Lorenzo Hubbell and played a significant role in Hubbell's placement of later structures and buildings including the present day trading post, the Hubbell residence, and other support structures such as the barn and corrals.

The Leonard buildings remained a dominant visual element within the trading post complex and represented a continuum of time for the evolution of the site until they were determined a safety hazard and razed by the Hubbell family in the 1920's. About this same time J.L. Hubbell's son Roman began to assist his father in the management of the farm and trading post operation and Hubbell's adult daughters returned to reside at the homestead with their families. During the next ten years a few "improvements" of an aesthetic nature were made to the landscape, primarily the area immediately adjacent to the family's residence.

The death of J.L. Hubbell in November of 1930 ended a primary period in the development and growth of the Hubbell Trading Post and farm at Ganado, Arizona and marked the beginning of a new era. Hubbell's heirs continued to modernize and mechanize the farming and business operations and the landscape associated with the residential area was clearly demarcated from the public use areas by means of a stone wall enclosure. This area of the landscape took on a more domesticated ambiance and land use areas reflected the family's desire for privacy and less of a need for total self sufficiency.

The family continued to operate the farm through the 1950's and the trading post until 1967 at which time the National Park Service took over its administration and management. With regard to the historic landscape resources, the period of significance continued until the Hubbell family left the property and turned over its operation and management to the Park Service. It is through this association with the family that the trading post and farm landscape has evolved and achieved its historical significance.

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Last Updated: 26-Apr-2004