Hubbell Trading Post (Az) & Telluride (Co) – Buildings Click on thumbnail to enlarge image, view caption and use slideshow options. To return to this page click on the image background This trading post near Ganado in north-east Arizona was acquired by John L. Hubbell in 1878 and remained with his descendents until its purchase by the National Parks Service in 1967. It is some forty-five miles south of the Canyon de Chelly, a place sacred to the Navajo and now a National Monument.The area was the ancestral home of the agrarian Navajo people who raised sheep and grew corn and crops on the canyon floors where water collected. Their horses originated with Spanish colonists. As more American settlers arrived in the area from the east, the army built Fort Defiance in 1851.Friction grew over grazing rights and erupted into conflict when the Navajo drove the troops from the Fort. As a reprisal, Navajo homes and crops were burned and livestock slaughtered. A treaty agreed in 1861 did not hold and 30 Navajo were killed by soldiers. In 1863, troops led by a Colonel Carson executed further retribution.Some 8,000 Navajo were force-marched 300 miles to Bosque Redondo in New Mexico where they were forced to live in subsistence. A new treaty in 1868 restored the Navajo to their Arizona lands on a Reservation. The years of exile reduced their numbers by around a quarter.Hubbell was born near Albuqurque in 1853. Following early experience as a clerk he worked as an interpreter at Fort Defiance and later as a clerk at Fort Wingate Trading Post in New Mexico. He bought the Leonard Trading Post at Ganado in 1878 in partnership with a Mr Cotton who undertook much of its management.Hubbell became sole partner in the early 1890s when Cotton moved away to Gallup in New Mexico and established a wholesale business supplying trading posts such as Hubbell’s, and buying blankets, rugs and other artefacts from the Navajo and others for resale.Good relations with the Navajo were essential to the success of the Trading Post. Hubbell also farmed and was willing to share his knowledge with others. He accumulated a comprehensive collection of art and crafts, at the same time advising the makers as to what was more likely to sell to outsiders.After Hubbell’s death, his son Roman and his wife Dorothy ran the post until age made this an increasingly arduous task. They sold the business to the National Parks Service that still operates it under management as an important element in local life. It also attracts travellers, perhaps visiting the Canyon De Chelly and other Native American centres in Arizona.The present buildings date from the end of the nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth. The shop retains much of its former atmosphere, purpose and content: items from the Hubbell artefact collection are on display. Visitors can look at the various buildings constructed from adobe, timber and stone and horse drawn vehicles.On this late September the landscape was very dry and the buildings were coated in a light red dust that concealed details and reduced lighting contrasts. However, looking at the buildings and their interiors was of greater interest than photography.With only a few hours to explore on this 2005 visit, I opted to photograph a few of the old timber buildings and contemporary domestic structures influenced by the use of stone, timber and corrugated iron in old mountain mining structures. Colorado Avenue, the wide main street, has a fine collection of buildings deserving a much more studied and unhurried approach.Telluride is sited in a box canyon deep in the San Juan Mountains in south-west Colorado. This was a summer camp area for the Ute people that attracted Spanish explorers in the 1700s. Established as a mining settlement in the late nineteenth century, the town had, by 1900, a population of some five thousand assorted nationalities and a total gold and silver output exceeding $350 million.In 1875 John Fallon registered the first claim, establishing the Sheridan Mine that yielded zinc, lead, copper, iron, silver and gold. Remains of local mines in the hills can be reached on the dirt roads constructed by the miners. In 1889, Butch Cassidy forcibly withdrew over $20,000 the town’s mined wealth from the San Miguel Valley Bank.Initially named Columbia, its name was changed to Telluride to avoid confusion with Columbia, California. Some say Telluride derives from the metal tellurium but this was not found in the area. Others suggest a Rio Grande Southern Railroad train guard’s fondness for calling out “to hell you ride” as his opinion of the destination. This is a detail from an early timber house.The narrow gauge railroad reached Telluride in 1890 and boosted mining development. Its 150 miles of track linked the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad lines at Ridgeway in the north to Durango in the south over a difficult route across the 10,250 feet altitude Lizard Head Pass. It closed in 1951. This new apartment building’s design has a powerful industrial aesthetic.Since the 1970s the town has developed as a world-class ski resort and a festival centre that includes Film, Jazz, Bluegrass, Brews and Blues – and a Nothing Festival to celebrate one weekend when the town is quiet and nothing is organised to attract visitors. Here, balconied apartments overlook woodland on the lower slopes of the canyon walls.Remains of timber mining structures are accessible by all terrain vehicles, mountain bikes and foot but not rental cars. Some are quite well preserved but many are in advanced decay. On them, wood plank siding is much in evidence and is also employed in this new apartment building in the town.This recently finished apartment block combines local stone with corrugated iron in an industrial aesthetic that seems entirely appropriate to the area. Others nearby followed a similar theme or added timber to the materials list.