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A Great AridnessClimate Change and the Future of the American Southwest$
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William deBuys

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199778928

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199778928.001.0001

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Introduction: The Tracks at Cedar Springs

Introduction: The Tracks at Cedar Springs

Introduction: The Tracks at Cedar Springs
A Great Aridness

William deBuys

Oxford University Press

March 1919 . Somebody killed the trader at Cedar Springs. The murderer also set fire to the trading post, and soon the dried-out floor planks and the roof beams and split-cedar ceiling erupted in smoke and flame. Except for its sandstone walls, the building would have burned to the ground. The next day a plume of smoke still hung in the Arizona sky, and people from miles around came to see what was the matter. Few automobiles had reached the windy expanses of the Navajo Reservation in those days, and men and women of all ages filed in by foot and horseback and in their buggies and buckboards. The first ones to arrive found the corpse of Charley Hubbell. Cedar Springs was less than a crossroads, not really a hamlet. It stood within a circle of rough-sided buttes a few miles east of the main road between Hopi and Winslow. It consisted of a combined general store, trading post and post office, plus various pens and corrals. Navajos from a considerable distance came to exchange sheep and handcrafts for the things they needed. Charley Hubbell lived at the trading post and presided over what went on. The people who found his body dispatched a messenger on a fast horse toward Ganado, fifty miles northeast, to find Charley’s nephew Lorenzo, who was known throughout Navajo country. A man of giant girth and matching gravitas, Juan Lorenzo Hubbell had bought the Ganado trading post forty years earlier. With acumen and persistence he built a string of almost thirty such establishments from one end of Navajo country to the other. In many cases he appointed members of his large, mixed Anglo and Hispanic family to run them. The post near Ganado, to which the messenger was sent, served as his home and headquarters. Together with its broad sprawl of barns, corrals, and storage sheds, it is preserved today as Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site, a unit of the National Park System.

Keywords:   Arctic icepack, Bohokishi Begay, Cedar Springs, Four Corners, Gila River, Hawikku, Ips bark beetle, Little Colorado River, Mesa Verde

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