An era comes to an end

Memories of Shonto Trading Post live on among owners, locals

buildings with peeling paint

Navajo Times | Krista Allen
The entrance of the old Shonto Trading Post welcomed patrons for nearly a century. The store, located at the bottom of Shonto Canyon, recently closed its doors due to deterioration.

SHONTO CANYON, Ariz.

A cloud of dust trailed behind Nina Brown’s truck as it rolled to a stop under the cottonwood trees at the old Shonto Trading Post. Two men stood outside the store, chatting in Navajo, as Brown approached the building to unlocked the doors. One man, Wayne Salt, said he had been hired to restore the north portion of the store that recently had been stripped clean.

Shonto Trading Post was moved approximately 17 miles northwest to Inscription House Trading Post in Ts’ahbiikin, Arizona, where owner Carolene Goodman Ekis spent several weeks unpacking and organizing in the store. The move marks the end of an era for this small community, where the old Shonto store, together with the grove of cottonwood, was a welcome sight to anyone who visited.

Now, it is a snapshot of history frozen in time. Last week, there were stark reminders of what used to be a trading post turned convenience store that had carried a broad selection of merchandise such as beads and Pendleton blankets, and was partly a post office. But beauty still seeps through the decaying building built of stone shortly after World War I.

The store here really was about the community, said Andrew Wilson, the son of Leslie and Linda Wilson.


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Categories: Community

About Author

Krista Allen

Krista Allen is the Western Agency Bureau reporter for the Navajo Times. She covers the western half of the Navajo Nation, including Page, Tuba City, Kaibeto, Cameron, Tonalea and Shonto. She can be reached at kallen@navajotimes.com.