Gallup New Mexico
Four Corners Region
Gallup lies on Interstate 40 (Historic Route 66), 139 miles west of Albuquerque and 25 miles east of the Arizona border. The city is the tour hub for the popular Four Corners Region, and it is the mercantile, transportation and banking center for the entire area. Gallup is a major Amtrak stop and is also served by America West Airlines.
Gallup is also the largest Indian center in the Southwest and the ceremonial capital of Native America.There are many American peoples in the Gallup/Four Corners region. By far the most numerous are the Navajo, who are today widely regarded for their achievements in wool, with original Navajo rugs and blankets (both new and antique) sought by private collectors and museums throughout the world.
A second major Native American settlement in the region, Zuni Pueblo, is centered approximately 35 miles south of town. Zuni is the largest of New Mexico's 19 Indian pueblos.The Zuni are best known for their intricate jewelry made from delicately cut turquoise or coral set in sterling silver.
In Arizona, another major tribe is the Hopi, also known for pottery and their unique carved kachinas. Other Native American peoples in the region include the Acoma and Laguna pueblos between Gallup and Albuquerque, both widely known for their stunning polychrome pottery.
Population / Elevation
- 19,200 people / 6,510 feet above sea level
Weather / Climate
The Four Corners area is renowned for its year-round pleasant climate. Low humidity and warm temperatures prevail; jackets or sweaters are advisable for evening activities. Gallup has more than 280 sunny days each year, 9.6 inches rainfall annuially.
When the Spanish Conquistadors led by Francisco V·squez de Coronado first arrived in theGallup region in 1540, they found a thriving and highly civilized Native American culture already well in place. Although not quite the "Seven Cities of Gold" that Coronado and the Spanish Crown were hoping to find, these settlements displayed building, craft and farming methods that were uncommonly sophisticated, as well as a network of roads connecting other important settlements throughout the region.
Gallup traces its modern origins to the railroads and trading post entrepreneurs of the late 19th century. In 1880, while the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad was pushing its way slowly westward, a paymaster named David Gallup established a small company headquarters along the projected right-of-way. Rail workers soon began "going to Gallup" to collect their pay, and when the tracks were finally laid through the area in 1881, the new settlement was formally named after the paymaster.
For its first half century, the economy of the emerging town was largely supported by plentiful coal mining in the region. In fact, Gallup was for a time called "Carbon City." The town's first inhabitants were those European, Oriental, Mexican and westward-seeking American workers who sought employment in the mines, as well as building the rails.
In its early days, Gallup was a typical rough-and-ready frontier settlement, with its share of saloons, false store fronts, wooden sidewalks and a single road paralleling the railroad tracks. (You can travel this same road today, known as Main Street/Route 66 through town.) Although Gallup was remote by eastern standards, cavalry from the U.S. Army's nearby Fort Wingate, established in 1860, helped protect the place during occasional confrontations between townspeople and Indians.
There are 110 trading posts, shops and galleries in Gallup, making the town the undisputed Southwestern center for original Native American art. (Santa Fe, on the other hand, is known as a center for all styles and traditions of collectible art, from pre-Columbian to European, South/Central American and non-Indian American trends, as well as Native American arts.)
The trading post experience is virtually unique to Gallup as a city. While isolated trading posts do exist on the reservations and in remote small villages, Gallup is the only large settlement in the Southwest that still hosts this unique mercantile tradition in any significant numbers.
Route 66 (Main Street) and Coal Avenue, which parallels Main one block south, are the principle sites of most gallery and trading post activity in Gallup. For the best experience, park your car and walk! There are also a number of fine establishments at the eastern end of town, just as one exits I-40 for the business loop at Rehoboth.
Befitting Gallup's status as the center of Indian America, the largest gathering of native peoples occurs here every August. Established in 1922, the Gallup Inter-Tribal was moved four miles east of town in 1975 and is now held at Red Rock State Park. Permanent grandstands built against towering red rock formations create an unforgettable amphitheater for the event.
Held Thursday through Sunday, the Inter-Tribal begins at night with the entrance of a Navajo medicine man and his sons. The medicine man starts the sacred fire, and ceremonial torches are lighted from this fire. Flags of the Navajo nation, the U.S. and the State of New Mexico are then planted at the summit of the cliffs surrounding the ceremonial grounds.
Downtown Gallup is best enjoyed on foot in the 12-block downtown area bordered by Route 66/Main Street (north), Hill Avenue (south, Fourth Street (west) and First Street (east). The greatest concentration of interesting turn-of-the-century architecture, as well as most of the downtown trading posts and galleries are located here, especially along Route 66 and Coal Avenue, one block south. Of special note are the former Rex Hotel (c. 1900) at 300 West Route 66, which is now the Rex Museum. Have a look also at the appealing pueblo revival McKinley County Court House (1938), 201 West Hill. The finest example of the decorative Spanish colonial revival style is the historic El Morro Theater, 207 West Coal, (505) 722-7469 The Gallup Film Festival is held here every year.
Of particular interest is the new Gallup Cultural Center located in the historic restored railroad station on Route 66. A project of the Southwest Indian Foundation, the Center consists of the Ceremonial Gallery, the Storyteller Museum, a Visitor Center and the Kiva Cinema. All attractions are free and open to the public. Be sure to visit the Museum Shop and the El Navajo Cafe, featuring organic espresso drinks, homemade sandwiches, soups and breakfast burritos. For hours and special events information, call 505-863-4131
There are hotels and motels in Gallup area with something for every taste and price range. For more information and a complete list. Click Here. (Rates, availability and reservations online)
|Camping & RV Parks
There are numerous campgrounds/RV parks in the Gallup area. For a complete list contact:
- Related Books & Gifts - Trading Post
- The Anasazi of the Desert Southwest
- Native Americans Desert Peoples
Cities & Towns
- Grants, New Mexico: 63 miles east.
- Albuquerque, New Mexico: 141 miles east.
- Farmington, New Mexico: 120 miles north.
- Holbrook, Arizona: 97 miles west.
- Santa Fe New Mexico
- Shiprock, New Mexico: 90 miles north.
- Window Rock, Arizona: 26 miles northeast.
Parks & Monuments
- Red Rock State Park: 8 miles east.
- Chaco Culture National Historical Park: 72 miles south.
- Aztec Ruins National Monument: 96 miles north.
- Canyon de Chelly National Monument: 90 miles northwest.
- El Morro National Monument: 51 miles southeast.
- El Malpais National Monument: 87 miles southeast.
Recreation & Wilderness Areas
- Cibola National Forest: 15 miles south.
- Bisti Badlands/DeNaZin Wilderness areas: 750 miles southeast.
Historic & Points of Interest
- Navajo Reservation: 10 miles west.
- Zuni Rreservation: 20 miles south.
- Four Corners Monument: 120 miles north.
- The Continental Divide: 20 miles east.
- Hubbell Trading Post: 56 miles northwest
- Red Rock Museum: four miles east .
-- Bob Katz
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