Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site - Hubbell's Life

Hubbell's Life

Hubbell's father was Anglo, his mother Spanish. He was raised in Pajarito, New Mexico, a small village just south of Albuquerque, New Mexico. He came to this area in 1876, less than ten years after the Long Walk. In 1878 he bought the small buildings comprising the compound from a trader named William Leonard, and started business. He was twenty three years old, single and he was trying to make a living among the Navajos, a people he did not know very well. He had to find a niche in a new culture, a difficult language. He probably learned "trader Navajo" very quickly. John Lorenzo was trilingual. He spoke English, Spanish and Navajo.

Mr. Hubbell married a Spanish woman named Lina Rubi. They had two sons and two daughters. Additions to the family home to accommodate the growing family were finished in 1902. It started out as a plain adobe building which the Hubbell family gradually made into a comfortable, and in some ways, luxurious home. Paintings and artifacts and many large Navajo rugs still decorate the interior. Unlike other traders who left their families “back home” in the east, the entire Hubbell Family spent most of the year in the Ganado village. The Hubbells lived in the house until 1967.

The guest house was built in the early 1930s by Dorothy and Roman Hubbell as a tribute to Mr. Hubbell. Dorothy Hubbell, Roman's wife, carved the inner wooden door. Visitors stayed in the Hubbell home, such as artists who were interested in the color and shapes of the land, anthropologists who came to Mr. Hubbell for information, statesmen, friends of the family, and ordinary travelers in need of a place to stay. Architecturally, the guest house is in the Hogan (pronounced hoe-gone) (Navajo for home) style. Most hogans are built of logs, and the door always faces the east. Hogans are one room dwellings and usually have six or eight sides. Mr. Hubbell built several traditional hogans on the grounds for the Navajos who came long distances to trade. The guest house was originally called Pueblo Colorado (the inscription over the door) but often was confused with the town of Pueblo, Colorado. There was an important Navajo Leader named totsohnii Hastiin (pronounced Toe-so-knee haaus-teen)(Navajo for Man of the big water Clan). He was also called Ganado Mucho (pronounced gah-nah-doe-moo-cho)(Spanish for Many Cattle) and Mr. Hubbell renamed this place Ganado for him. Ganado Mucho had a son - Many Horses, who is buried on the property.

Beyond the perimeter wall to the north courses the Pueblo Colorado Wash, the northern boundary of the Hubbell homestead. In some sections of the Ganado-Cornfields valley, the Wash is spring-fed and runs year round. Melting snows in spring and heavy summer rains sometimes cause it to flood. In the Southwest a good source of water has always attracted people. The Anasazi(pronounced Ah-na-eeh-son-ni) (Navajo for the Ancient ones) lived in small villages up and down the valley hundreds of years ago. The Navajos came later, and then the traders- all attracted to the water.

The cone shaped hill located northwest of the trading post is Hubbell Hill. The family cemetery is at the top. Mr. Hubbell, his wife, three of his children, a daughter-in-law, a granddaughter, and a Navajo man named Many Horses are buried there. Many Horses was one of the local herdsmen, and the son of Ganado Mucho. He and Mr. Hubbell were close friends for many years. Mr. Hubbell maintained a friendship with many of his customers. Mr. Hubbell died in 1930. Then his younger son Roman operated the business. When Roman died in 1957 his wife Dorothy managed the store for another ten years, until 1967 when the National Park Service acquired the homestead.

Built with juniper logs upright in the ground, the corrals of the trading post held lambs and sheep purchased from Navajo stockmen by Mr. Hubbell. The flocks stayed in the corral complex until they could be herded to the railroad. From time to time Mr. Hubbell kept beef cattle as well. Mr. Hubbell homesteaded 160 acres (0.6 km2) before they were part of the reservation and territory. When the reservation expanded, it surrounded the Hubbell property. Through an act of Congress Mr. Hubbell got permission to keep his homestead. Freight wagons brought supplies fifty six miles to the store from the little railroad town of Gallup, New Mexico, two to four days of one way travel in good weather. Going back to Gallup freight wagons hauled huge sacks of wool.

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    Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life:
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