This Trading Post sign is a well done piece of architecture that fits the minimal surroundings of the reservation. At the time of this trip we were heading to visit a friend in Heber, Arizona from Monument Valley. That leg of the trip was over 300 miles. And most of it was on the Navajo reservation, big area and beautiful country.
That was hard to do cause I loved being in the valley and watching all the activity and the serenity of the Monuments. But leave we did, had a schedule to keep and we headed across the reservation, generally south to pick up I-40 and get to Holbrook from there to Heber to see friends.
the trading post has a great collection of items hand crafted by the Navajo Artists. So many items, so little time!
Lots of out buildings and I suppose at one time they must have farmed nearby. At least the aerial photo of the area would suggest that!
We took a tour each time we visited the Valley, but I would like to take my truck and just recon the area myself... fly in the ointment is the fact that you as an individual driver can only go into certain areas... maybe a third of the Monumant Valley, or less! With the day long tour comes lunch, hamburger over an open fire, and a trip to Mystery Valley which is south of Monument valley and only accessible with a guided tour. The tour guides were very knowledgable and stopped at all necessary Kodak Moment spots!
...purchased the trading post in 1878. That was ten years after Navajos were allowed to return to their homeland from their terrible exile at Bosque Redondo, Ft. Sumner, New Mexico. During that the four years of exile, the Navajos were introduced to many new items. Traders like Hubbell supplied those items once they returned home. Hubbell, unlike many traders, seemed to be rather fair with the Native Americans. Unlike Joseph Capron Tiffany on the San Carlos reservation. To some extent Tiffany's greed or bad management was the cause of the Battle at Cibeque Creek and the Battle of Big Dry Wash.
The interior of the trading post is very much like it was back in the day, the rug room is still there, bring your wallet... the rugs do appreciate, so even though they are expensive you likely will not lose money on rugs. Unless you are coming cross country on I-40 it is a bit of a trip... Scottsdale's Lovena Ohl Gallery is much closer and I think they have better deals on rugs... but it has been several years since I have been in the Ohl Gallery and the last time I was there the scarcity of rugs was starting to be a problem. Young people aren't willing to learn the old ways! Sound familiar...
We roamed through the trading post and saw many really nice items... bought little since we had been at the Grand Canyon and Goulding's where we spent most of our money. It was nice to see that the old place was well maintained, even if it was on your nickle!
The trade in Navajo rugs was very important to the economy of the tribe in the late 19th and early 20th century. Not so much anymore, but the number of people making rugs has decreased and the value of existing rugs just keeps going up. It won't make you a millionaire but it is an investment that will always pay you back with interest. Plus they are very beautiful pieces to have around the house.
Hollywood never ceases to amaze me... for example "The Searchers" was about Comanche vs Cowboy types, but John Ford shot the movie in Monument valley and when the Comanche village was attacked John Ford had the good sense to place a million dollars worth of Navajo rugs all around the Comanche village to give the scene some color. Go figure!
Very normal architecture for the period it was built and that location. Rocks are basically free for the picking... the Humble Hubbell Trading Post!