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McKinley County Information
Gallup is called the "Indian Capital of the World", for its location in the heart of Native American
lands, and the presence of Navajo, Zuni, Hopi and other tribes. Gallup is the undisputed Southwestern center for
original American Indian art. According to the 2000 census, Gallup's population is 93 percent Indian.
With a population of approximately 20,000 contemporary Gallup is a unique and colorful mix of vibrant enterprise
and traditional Native America. With genuine arts & crafts in rich abundance, the city's 110 trading posts,
galleries and shops project a unique blend of Native-American and Hispanic culture.
One of the oldest towns in the United States, Gallup’s population can be traced back to 2500 BC with the settlement
of the Anasazi in Canyon de Chelly. As the Anasazi population rose, so did trading in the area. White men began
to populate the area in 1880 when the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad began to push its way westward. The
railroad paymaster, David Gallup, established a small company headquarters along the projected railroad right-of-way.
Rail workers soon began "going to Gallup" to collect their pay. When the tracks were finally laid through
the area in 1881, the new settlement was formally named after the paymaster. Gallup was incorporated as a town
in 1891. A local government was established and in 1901 it became the county seat of McKinley County.
For the first half of the twentieth century, the economy of the emerging town
was largely supported by plentiful coal mining in the region. In fact, Gallup was called "Carbon City"
for a time. The town's first inhabitants were those westward-seeking workers who sought employment in the mines
and on the railroad.
In December 17, 1937, a Gallup icon was born when the El Rancho Hotel was built by the brother of the movie magnet,
D.W. Griffith. The hotel quickly became the temporary home for many Hollywood stars as well as a stopping point
for tourists drive on old Route 66. During its heyday, the El Rancho Hotel hosted Ronald Reagan, Spencer Tracy,
Katherine Hepburn and Kirk Douglas, among many others. Today, visitors can still enjoy the Old West charm of this
historic hotel, now on the National Historic Register.
Inter-tribal Indian Ceremonial
Native American (Pueblo, Taos) men participate in a dance in Gallup, New Mexico.
They wear bells, moccasins, kilts, feather armbands, bustles, and feather roaches.
[source: Library of Congress]
* Gallup (county seat)
Census-designated places and Other Populated Places
* Black Rock * Brimhall Nizhoni * Church Rock * Crownpoint * Crystal * Nakaibito
* Navajo * Pueblo Pintado * Ramah * Rock Springs * Thoreau * Tohatchi
* Tse Bonito * Twin Lakes * Yah-ta-hey * Zuni Pueblo
Allison * Clarkville * Gamerco * Heaton (aka Camp Heaton) * Mentmore * Navajo
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