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National Park Mystery Photo 48 Revealed: You Don’t See Many Patio Lights Like This One!

 Hubbell Trading Post’s historic wagon wheel patio light as it appears today and in a 1954 photo of Dorothy Hubbell taken on the family patio. Top photo by Kurt Repanshek, bottom photo courtesy Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site.

 National Park Mystery Photo 48 was taken at Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site in northeastern Arizona. The cropped photo you were challenged to identify shows one of the seven "hub lamps" of a chandelier-style patio light mounted on a pole beside a sandstone slab picnic table on the Hubbell family’s patio. The patio is located next to a stone hogan built in 1934 to honor Juan Lorenzo Hubbell, the founder of the trading post.

A renovation project in 2010 restored the flagstone patio, the wagon wheel patio light, and two barbecue grills to their appearance in 1965, the year the Hubbell Trading Post was acquired from the Hubbell family.

According to Ed Chamberlin, the park’s museum curator, the wagon wheel patio light was built sometime after 1920.

Congratulations to Traveler readers David Crowl, ron erpelding, and Eric. All three are eligible for our monthly prize drawing, which this month is a copy of Andrew Skurka's The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide.


Thanks for shedding some light on this one, Bob.

Okay, fair enough.  Can you please clarify some terminology though, for the record.  The information provided stated that this photo "was taken in a national park," though technically it was taken in a National Historic Site.  For last week's Mystery Spot we were asked to "name the unit of the National Park System" revealed by the clues -- which gave us a much wider playing field.  For the future, are we to interpret "national park" instead as "unit in the National Park System"?  It makes a slight (cough cough) difference in the number of possibilities.  Or is it me that needs to brush up on my understanding of NPS unit designations?!

There are 397 national parks, Ln, and each is a unit of the National Park System.  Of these 397 national parks, 58 are National Park-designated and the rest are designated something else, such as National Historic Site, National Monument, or National Battlefield. If you find this somewhat confusing, you are in good company.

Bottom line here: Mystery Photo 48 was taken in a national park.

Darn.  I got the park right in one guess and the object correct in another guess - but I did not put the two together!  Maybe next time....

(Aside to Ln)  Thank you for the recent communication, but Traveler has gone over that ground many, many times before, and it comes out the same: there are 397 national parks in the National Park System. Please don't shoot the messenger!
For information about the most recent addition to the system -- that is, the 397th national park -- click to this National Park System press release.

Note paragraph one of this National Park Service press release, which reads:

PATERSON, N.J. — Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Paterson Mayor Jeffery Jones today signed a historic agreement that paves the way for the establishment of Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park as the nation’s 397th national park.


and the very last section of this National Park Service press release, which reads:

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 397 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at

I wonder if there are any pictures of them lit up at night?

No shooting necessary, it just sounds to me like that office needs an editor :)  When you click on [color=#810081][/color] to learn more and work through the FAQ links (some of which don't seem to be working at the moment...), you arrive at the [color=#810081]complete list of NPS sites[/color]
It's probably just a sign of the current budget and some sorely needed training, is all.  I can imagine it would be difficult to get all 20,000+ employees to remember the many unit distinctions.  Or maybe "they" list them all as parks in places on purpose at that level(?), to avoid public confusion -- though that would seem to me like an insult to both the NPS and the public -- not to mention that it ends up causing even more confusion, especially when you consider the different management policies of each designation.  Small wonder that visitors are confused (and sometimes upset) when they learn that some of the activities they may have recently engaged in in any given national recreation area/lakeshore/preserve etc. are prohibited in a "real" national park.  But that is a subject for another thread!

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