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The Texaco gas station Navajo is has the octagonal shape of a hogan.  9-03.
Clickable Map.  Navajo is at Exit 325 on Interstate 10.

Boomtown.  The WPA Guide to 1930's Arizona lists the population of Navajo as 25 and describes the settlement as a small trading post.  By 1946 when Jack D. Rittenhouse's A Guidebook to Highway 66 was published, Navajo was practically booming.  The population had skyrocketed to 52, and the facilities were listed as "Marty's Trading Post, with gas and groceries; a small neat cafe in a house back [sic] of the trading post, and five tourist cabins."

Convenience hogan.  Today the trading post has been replaced by a modern Texaco gas station with a Subway sandwich shop in a convenience market built in the shape of a hogan, the traditional Navajo dwelling.  The walls of a hogan like those of a log cabin are made of logs laid on top of one another and notched at the ends to interlock at the corners.  Cracks between the logs are sealed with mud.  Instead of having just four walls, the hogan has eight to form a hexagon. 

The cleverly designed roof is dome shaped without any supporting center posts or beams, and rises from the shoulder height walls to a center of about 10 feet. It is constructed by placing poles between the midpoints of adjacent log walls.  Poles of progressively shorter lengths fill in the triangular gap between that pole and the corner of the outer wall.  The process is repeated with poles being placed between the midpoints of adjacent poles until the open area in the center can be filled with short poles.  The entire roof is then sealed with a thick layer of clay which becomes waterproof when it dries.

What's in a name?  Navajo is located in Apache County, following what seems to be a quirky tradition for place names in Arizona.  Fort Apache is in Navajo County, and Apache, the town, is in Cochise County.  The little town of Maricopa is not located in Maricopa County, but in adjacent Pinal County. It is the town of Coolidge which is home to the famous Casa Grande ruins, not the nearby town of Casa Grande.  The Cochise settlement is indeed in Cochise County and Lake Mojave is in Mojave County.  Arizona City is in Arizona, but so are Colorado City and Kansas Settlement.

Historic Navajo Springs.  Within six miles south of Navajo is a site of such historic significance that it has its own monument, even though it is so off the beaten track that it requires a permit from the Navajo Nation to get there.  Navajo Springs gets its name from the water that seeps out of the ground at various spots over a wide area providing a major watering place for early travelers. In 1863 became the locus for the establishment of the Arizona Territory, which owes its existence in no small part to the Confederate States of America.


Passed by the People of Arizona in Convention Assembled at La Mesilla, Arizona Territory, March 16, 1861

WHEREAS, a sectional party of the North has disregarded the Constitution of the United States, violated the rights of the Southern States, and heaped wrongs and indignities upon their people; and WHEREAS, the Government of the United States has heretofore failed to give us adequate protection against the savages within our midst and has denied us an administration of the laws, and that security for life, liberty, and property which is due from all governments to the people; and WHEREAS, it is an inherent, inalienable right in all people to modify, alter, or abolish their form of government whenever it fails in the legitimate objects of its institution, or when it is subversive thereof; and WHEREAS, in a government of federated, sovereign States, each State has a right to withdraw from the confederacy whenever the treaty by which the league is formed, is broken; and WHEREAS, the Territories belonging to said league in common should be divided when the league is broken, and should be attached to the separating States according to their geographical position and political identity; and WHEREAS, Arizona naturally belongs to the Confederate States of America (who have rightfully and lawfully withdrawn from said league), both geographically and politically, by ties of a common interest and a common cause; and WHEREAS we, the citizens of that part of New Mexico called Arizona, in the present distracted state of political affairs between the North and the South, deem it our duty as citizens of the United States to make known our opinions and intentions; therefore be it...
RESOLVED, That our feelings and interests are with the Southern States , and that although we deplore the division of the Union, yet we cordially indorse the course pursued by the seceded Southern States.
RESOLVED, That geographically and naturally we are bound to the South, and to her we look for protection; and as the Southern States have formed a Confederacy, it is our earnest desire to be attached to that Confederacy as a Territory.
RESOLVED, That we do not desire to be attached as a Territory to any State seceding separately from the Union, but to and under the protection of a Confederacy of the Southern States.
RESOLVED, That the recent enactment of the Federal Congress, removing the mail service from the Atlantic to the Pacific States from the Southern to the Central or Northern route, is another powerful reason for us to ask the Southern Confederate States of America for a continuation of the postal service over the Butterfield or El Paso route, at the earliest period.
RESOLVED, That it shall be the duty of the President of this Convention to order an election for a delegate to the Congress of the Confederate States of America, when he is informed that the States composing said Confederacy have ordered an election for members of Congress.
RESOLVED, That we will not recognize the present Black Republican Administration, and that we will resist any officers appointed to this Territory by said Administration with whatever means in our power.
RESOLVED, That the citizens residing in the western portion of this Territory are invited to join us in this movement.
RESOLVED, That the proceedings of this Convention be published in the Mesilla Times, and that a copy thereof be forwarded to the President of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, with the request that the same be laid before Congress.

The Confederacy's first territory.  When the territory which would eventually become Arizona was acquired by the United States in the mid 1800's, it was administered as the New Mexico Territory--a name referencing the country which had unwillingly contributed much of the territory.  The New Mexico territory stretched from Texas to California and included areas which are now New Mexico, Arizona and a small portion of Nevada.

The New Mexico Territory was administered from the territorial capitol in Santa Fe.  The southwestern region of the territory became known locally as "Arizona."  The Arizonans who had come largely from Texas and other southern states felt isolated from and unappreciated by the territorial government.  Appeals by the Arizonans to form a separate territory were ignored by Washington, but not by the Confederate States of America as they were being formed by the seceding states in 1861.

Arizona secedes.  After the United States government revoked a mail contract with the Butterfield Stage Line further isolating the area, conventions were held in March 1861 in Tucson and Mesilla (in what is now New Mexico) declaring the secession of Arizona from the New Mexico Territory and from the United States.  Unlike the geographical configuration of the states, Confederate Arizona was formed from the southern half of the New Mexico Territory below the 34th parallel (just north of Phoenix).  A delegate to the Confederate Congress was chosen and the Confederate Stars and Bars was flown over the new territory replacing the US flag.  Arizona had become the Confederacy's first, last and only territory.

Lincoln accedes.  In seceding, the Arizonans finally got Washington's attention.  Congress passed a measure creating the new Territory of Arizona from the western half of the New Mexico Territory and President Abraham Lincoln signed it into law on February 24, 1863, finally giving Arizonans their own territory.

With all deliberate speed, a delegation was sent to inaugurate the government of the new Arizona Territory.  When they reached Navajo Springs on December 29, 1863, barely inside the border of the new territory, an inauguration ceremony was held.

Unfortunately, the governor of the new territory appointed by President Lincoln, John Addison Gurley, could not attend the ceremony since he died before the government's inauguration.  The first living governor of Arizona, as well as all other territorial and state governors can be viewed on our Governors of Arizona page.

If you really must visit Navajo Springs, check out Tom Jonas's "Where is Navajo Springs?"


On Tuesday December 29, 1863 at 4 PM the government of the Arizona Territory was formally inaugurated at Navajo Springs.  Secretary Before his military escort and the assembled citizens, Secretary McCormick spoke:
“Gentlemen:—As the properly qualified officer, it becomes my duty to inaugurate the proceedings of the day. After a long and trying journey, we have arrived within the limits of the Territory of Arizona. These broad plains and hills form a part of the district over which, as the representatives of the United States, we are to establish a civil government. Happily, although claimed by those now in hostility to the Federal arms, we take possession of the Territory without resort to military force. The flag, which I hoist in token of our authority, is no new and untried banner. For nearly a century it has been the recognized, the honored, the loved emblem of law and liberty. From Canadato Mexico, from the Atlantic to the Pacific millions of strong arms are raised in its defense, and above the efforts of all foreign or domestic foes, it is destined to live untarnished and transcendent."
Secretary McCormick then hoisted the "Stars and Stripes." After a prayer by the Reverend H. W. Read, the oath of office was administered to Chief Justice Turner, and to Associate Justices Howell, and Allyn, by Mr. McCormick. Governor Goodwin and District Attorney Gage qualified before Chief Justice Turner.









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