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 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 complete list of NPS sites.
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!

For what it's worth, Ln, you can blame Congress. They come up with most of the designated names for the various units.

In fact, as you're likely aware, there's a big campaign on to change the name of Golden Gate NRA to Golden Gate National Park(s), with the s, and the same conversation has come up with places such as Dinosaur National Monument and Cedar Breaks National Monument, just to name two.

If you check out our parks page, you'll see all the various designations and the units (parks) that fall under them.

"Avoiding public confusion" is not something that government agencies are very good at, Ln. ;o)

I have no problem with the "national parks" issue, but you did mislead me on one of your clues. When the other reader guessed Theodore Rooselvelt NP, you said he was in the right time zone for at least part of the year. That immediately sent me to Arizona, one of only two states that don't observe Daylight Savings Time (the other being Hawaii). However, that excludes the Navajo Nation, which does observe Daylight Savings Time, so I figured that meant any national parks on their reservation couldn't be the answer. However, I didn't know that light fixture was at Hubbell Trading Post, and short of Googling images of it, breaking the rules, and incurring a horrific writing assignment to get the answer, I still had no chance on this question, and I'm mightily impressed by the folks who did!

Touche, Bob!

Good catch, celbert. I totally forgot about the Navajo Nation time, although it did drive me a tad batty on my recent trip. Sorry for the misdirection...I'll begin my writing assignment now...;-)

Shucky darn! Had I known that Kurt would be tackling that writing assignment, I would have made it much more difficult. Sigh .... life is just one wasted opportunity after another. :(

I was wondering if the number national parks is actually more than 397.
397 is number of units that NPS administers, but should some our other
national monuments (like Misty Fjords National Monuement or Mt St Helens
National Volcanic Monument) and national recreation areas (like Oregon
Dunes or Flaming Gorge) administered by other federal agencies (like US
Forest Service) be considered national parks.

Anonymous, the simple answer is if they're not administered by the National Park Service, they're not parks, at least not parks under any of the designations contained in the National Park System.

That said, we've long wondered if some monuments managed by other agencies -- such as the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument or Mount St Helens -- should be administered by the NPS.

The quick answer is "yes," at least on your two examples, plus a few others, like Hells Canyon NRA. In an ideal world, the silly inter-agency rivalries and infighting wouldn't exist, and any federal land deemed worthy of being specified as a National Monument or National Recreation Area would be turned over to the management of the National Park Service, the agency specifically created to manage lands like these.
But since there seems to be so much governmental reluctance to transfer responsibility for tracts of federal land despite their re-designation to "National Whatever," maybe a solution could be some re-branding. What I mean is that the designations that historically have mostly been applied to Park Service units (National Monument, National Recreation Area, etc.) could be reserved exclusively for the Park Service, while properties managed by other agencies could receive other designations. An example of this already exists in the BLM, where they have National Conservation Areas, in addition to some National Monuments.
I don't know what these designations would be, but there are surely plenty of synonyms for "monument," "recreational area," etc., so that something different could be invented.
However, remember that despite their usual connection to the Forest Service, all of the agencies also manage Wilderness Areas, so in fairness the other agencies, including the NPS, would have to come up with their own version of "wilderness."
Probably, this is something that would never fly, but it could alleviate a lot of the confusion having multiple agencies managing identically-named properties creates.

For those interested, we have free puzzles for National Parks, National Monuments, and National Historic Places. No strings, no membership required. Just print and use!