On the Road with Tom and Gloria travel blog



beautiful drive to Mesa Verde

Spent a couple of hours at The Hubbell Trading Post in Ganado today. I found this place to be very interesting. It's off the beaten path but well worth the detour. It is the oldest operating trading post on the Navajo Nation.

Ganado Mucho, ( many cattle in Spanish) the last peace chief of the Navajo, became friends with Hubbell and convinced him that he would do good business if he bought the trading post. The original name of the town was Pueblo Colorado and there was constant confusion with the town of Pueblo in Colorado so Hubbell renamed the town Ganado in honor of his friend.

J.L.Hubbell purchased the post in 1878 - ten years after the Navajo people returned from their "long walk". At that time, the women were making blankets of all sizes but in three colors - black, grey and white - with large horizontal stripes. It was Hubbell that insisted on excellence in craftsmanship in both silversmithing and weaving.

Many artists and adventurers came to Arizona and stayed at the post. Hubbell loved color and would ask the artists to draw a sketch of a colorful blanket. He would put the sketch up in the store and tell the women that he would pay a premium for those blankets and rugs. He was particularly fond of red - the deep red in lots of Navajo rugs has come to be known as Ganado red.

Hubbell's descendants lived at the post until 1967 when they sold it to the National Park Service. I took a tour of the house and was amazed at the beautiful furniture, rugs, paintings and baskets inside. There are over 350,000 items in the museum's collection - including thousands of store records. Truly a priceless collection.

It was late afternoon when I arrived at Mesa Verde National Park. I stayed at the lodge in the park and if I thought La Posada was a step back in time - holy cow ,this place was an even further step back. No TV, no cell service, no WIFI - hence no post last night. I had an 8am tour this morning so it was lights out by 9pm.

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