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Crystal, New Mexico

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Title: Crystal, New Mexico  
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Subject: McKinley County, New Mexico, San Juan County, New Mexico, Brimhall Nizhoni, New Mexico, Pueblo Pintado, New Mexico, Twin Lakes, New Mexico
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Crystal, New Mexico

Crystal, New Mexico
Location of Crystal, New Mexico
Location of Crystal, New Mexico
Crystal, New Mexico is located in USA
Crystal, New Mexico
Location in the United States
Country United States
State New Mexico
Counties San Juan, McKinley
 • Total 4.4 sq mi (11.4 km2)
 • Land 4.4 sq mi (11.4 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 7,523 ft (2,293 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 311
 • Density 78.9/sq mi (30.5/km2)
Time zone Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP code 87328
Area code(s) 505
FIPS code 35-19080
GNIS feature ID 0902227

Crystal (Navajo: Tóniłtsʼílí) is a census-designated place (CDP) in McKinley and San Juan counties in the U.S. state of New Mexico. The population was 311 at the 2010 census. It is located at the western end of the Narbona Pass.

The McKinley County portion of Crystal is part of the Gallup Micropolitan Statistical Area, while the San Juan County portion is part of the Farmington Metropolitan Statistical Area.


  • Geography 1
  • History 2
  • Demographics 3
  • Education 4
  • References 5


According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 4.4 square miles (11.4 km²), of which 4.4 square miles (11.4 km²) is land and 0.04 square mile (0.1 km²) (0.45%) is water.


A Navajo wool rug in the Early Crystal style, including swastikas in the design, date 1900-1920 AD

The first known trader in the Washington Pass was Romulo Martinez, a Spanish-American from Fort Defiance, in 1873. The names of other traders are recorded for the following years, but they seem all to have been temporary, trading from tents in the summer season. In 1896 John Bradford Moore arrived, an Irishman from Sheridan, Wyoming. He bought the trading site, then cut timber in the mountains and hauled it down to build a log trading post, which he stocked with supplies carted from the rail head in Gallup. He named his post at the western mouth of the Narbona Pass the Crystal Trading Post. During the winter months, he employed Navajo weavers to make rugs. Moore ensured that the wool and the weaving was good quality, and created designs of his own, quickly gaining a reputation as a source of good quality rugs.[1]

Moore understood what the market in the eastern United States would value, and in his catalog stressed the use of natural materials and primitive technology. Despite this, he introduced production-line techniques, and had no problem with using machine-produced yarns with synthetic dyes.[2] Traders in Navajo rugs had to keep costs down to be able to offer competitive prices, so wages were low. Talking of the weaver's life, Moore said, "there is no more dismal wage proposition than her remuneration for her part in the industry. Given any other paying outlet for her labor, there would very soon be no such thing as a blanket industry ... it is her one and only way of earning money."[3] Moore was succeeded in 1911 by his manager, A. J. Molohon.[4] The Crystal Trading Post was owned by the C.C. Manning company from 1919 to 1922. Later Charlie Newcomb and then Jim Collyer owned the post. In 1944 Don Jensen bought the post, holding it until 1981. Apparently Jenson developed the current Crystal rug.[5]


As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 347 people, 100 households, and 77 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 78.9 people per square mile (30.4/km²). There were 113 housing units at an average density of 25.7 per square mile (9.9/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 97.98% Native American, 1.73% White, and 0.29% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.59% of the population.

There were 100 households out of which 41.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.0% were married couples living together, 27.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.0% were non-families. 21.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.47 and the average family size was 4.10.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 38.0% under the age of 18, 10.4% from 18 to 24, 26.8% from 25 to 44, 17.6% from 45 to 64, and 7.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females there were 74.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.8 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $24,722, and the median income for a family was $13,906. Males had a median income of $31,023 versus $16,250 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $7,002. About 54.7% of families and 54.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 63.8% of those under age 18 and 20.0% of those age 65 or over.


Gallup-McKinley County Schools serve the McKinley County portion of Crystal. The portion of Crystal in San Juan County is served by Central Consolidated Schools.


  1. ^ James 1988, p. 46.
  2. ^ Wilkins 2008, p. 65-66.
  3. ^ M'Closkey 2008, p. 147.
  4. ^ Graburn 1976, p. 96.
  5. ^ Linford 2005, p. 75.
  6. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  • Graburn, Nelson H. H. (1976). Ethnic and Tourist Arts: Cultural Expressions from the Fourth World. University of California Press.  
  • James, Harold L. (1988). H.L. James's rugs and posts: the story of Navajo weaving and Indian trading. Schiffer Pub. 
  • Linford, Laurance D. (2005-09-01). Tony Hillerman's Navajoland: Hideouts, Haunts, and Havens in the Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee Mysteries. University of Utah Press.  
  • M'Closkey, Kathy (2008-05-30). Swept Under the Rug: A Hidden History of Navajo Weaving. UNM Press.  
  • Wilkins, Teresa J. (2008-05-15). Patterns of Exchange: Navajo Weavers and Traders. University of Oklahoma Press.  
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