One-stop shopping at Globe’s Pickle Barrel Trading Post

Pickle Barrel Trading Post's array of metal flowers

I’ve found it. I found the perfect place to buy everything you thought you could never find, never needed or for that matter — never even knew existed — it’s the Pickle Barrel Trading Post in Globe. Probably some of you already are familiar with the Pickle Barrel, but to those of you who haven’t yet been there, please don’t miss it. It’s a one-of-a-kind shopping experience.

From the street, this historic Globe tourism icon holds a prime shopping property on Broad Street, a concrete-blocked, corrugated-roofed reminder of a bustling, booming mining town. At first, the building seems out of place on the perimeter of the historic downtown area, but when you drive around to the front entrance of the store, it’s clear why Pickle Barrel is a popular shopping destination.

Metal Petal: A perfectly planted flower bed at Pickle Barrel Trading Post

If, after “antiquing” through the whatnot shops of Globe and the this-n-that stores of Miami, and you still haven’t found that special something, you may locate it at Pickle Barrel. Upon arrival, stroll through gardens of ornamental metal and wood: copper, bronze and wrought iron sculptures. Every imaginable kind of lawn decor is found here. Fountains, planters, gazing balls and weather vanes make up a kind of obstacle course for an entire colony of soldered metal ants, spiders, scorpions and butterflies. Don’t worry there’s a path up to the entrance, so you’ll be safe.

Pendleton blankets and pillows at Pickle Barrel Trading PostAfter stepping inside the Pickle Barrel, you immediately get the sense that this store is indeed a forum for ‘deal hunting.’ It’s all worlds of imaginable shopping combined: second hand merchant, gift boutique, antique mall, attic storeroom, furniture gallery, general store, Indian trading post, Southwest-Mexican art barn, Arizona souvenir shop, bargain basement and flea market.

Rock and gem display case at Pickle Barrel Trading Post

Take your time to look. If you glance around too quickly at all the merchandise you’ll get what’s known as “shopper’s eyestrain” – the pain acquired when one’s eyes constantly focus and refocus, moving from close objects to faraway objects. And I’d recommend bringing keeping your cell phone in close range in case your spouse gets sidetracked and decides to explore the opposite side of the building. There are so many nooks and crannies, kiosks, display cases and shelving units, it’s easy to get lost. You’ll find a full range of merchandise: from those items you see practically everywhere – like Leanin’ Tree greeting cards, to other items harder to find – like antique beer and “fillin’ station” signs. Please be warned of the effects serendipitous shopping has on your wallet.

Fedora or 10-gallon, felt or straw - Pickle Barrel has hundreds of hats

I would recommend Pickle Barrel Trading Post to any Arizonan – full-time resident, winter visitor or regular tourist — and anyone doing some early Christmas shopping for those ” folks back home,” because you’ll find gifts and souvenir favorites such as turquoise jewelry, silver belt buckles, Bolo ties and Red Rock landscapes. Everything that can be manufactured and marketed that defines Arizona or the Southwest can be found at the Pickle Barrel. And then some.

A saddle or skull from Pickle Barrel will round out your decor

Note: Pickle Barrel allows shoppers to bring in their “well-behaved pets,” so you don’t have to leave the pooch at home. Pickle Barrel Trading Post is open daily except Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas from 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.

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Besh Ba Gowah: park visitor tips, random facts

During its days of population, Besh Ba Gowah, an archeological park in Globe, had about 400 rooms. It’s impossible to get an accurate number of rooms because excavation during the 1940s may have bulldozed perimeter areas of the original settlement. No results were published after a five-year excavation project during the 1930s because of the director’s untimely death.

Polychrome pottery can be seen at the museum

Salado Indians who inhabited Besh Ba Gowah (approximately 1150 to 1430) were master potters and used a method known as polychrome – adding black, red and white paint and dyes to create colorful geometric shapes on the earthenware. Interestingly, the Salado had other distinctions such as burying the dead (as opposed to cremating), using advanced irrigation techniques and building their homes from the ground up using masonry-type construction with rocks and boulders. Salado Indians may have been a mixed culture of Hohokam and other regional ancient communities. From the jewelry and artifacts found at the Besh Ba Gowah site, it appears that the Salado were traders; trading networks may have extended to the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific Ocean.

Besh Ba Gowah is actually an Apache term, used much later to describe the settlement as a “place of metals,” probably referring to nearby mining activity of the 1800s.

Climb up to the second level rooms

Visitors can climb up to the rooftops of some of the buildings. On the second level, you will be able to get a better idea of the massive size and layout of the settlement.

Note varying sizes of entrances such as the wall crawlspace at far right

Noteworthy are the varying sizes of the doorways and the long, once-covered corridors which connect outer sections of the pueblo to a central, open plaza area. These building features may have been built to defend their community. Intruders could have been more easily fought off if they had to crawl through a small “doggy” door or climb up to a second floor level.

Barrel cacti in bloom at Besh Ba Gowah's ethnobotantical garden

Don’t miss a walk through the ethnobotanical and adjacent botanical gardens with a large display of cacti and other desert flora. Learn how the Salado Indians used these plants for both food and clothing. According to its website, the city park accepts unwanted desert plants from area homeowners.

If you’re a first time visitor, I recommend taking time to view the 14-minute video before you stroll through the ruins. It will give you a brief overview of the Salado Indians, their anthropological and archeological history and restoration. For me, it allows a greater appreciation of ruins and museum.

Spend a few minutes in gift shop after your tour.  In addition to the usual Arizona tourist gifts, the shop carries a wide selection of interesting souvenirs plus artwork by local artists.

Besh Ba Gowah Archeological Park is located at 1324 S. Jesse Hayes Road. Admission is $5. The park is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Wait a minute! Somebody's still living here!

Further reading about the Salado culture:

The Salado: A Crossroads in Cultures

Besh Ba Gowah by James Q. Jacobs

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Basha’s Art Gallery: A hidden masterpiece

It’s no secret that corporate offices throughout the country are filled with famous works of art. Paintings, sculpture, multimedia creations from nationally-known and regional artists occupy the walls, cases and pedestals of corporate galleries, lobbies, hallways and lounges. But it’s a little known fact that Arizona supermarket giant, Basha’s, has maintained a vast collection of American Cowboy and Native American art, basketry, jewelry and artifacts in its Chandler headquarters.

Basha’s Art Gallery front hall features works by Joe Beeler

The Zelma Basha Salmeri Gallery of Western American and Native American Art houses over 3,000 pieces in a wide range of media: oil, watercolor, acrylics, charcoal and pastels on canvas and paper as well as three-dimensional works in bronze, wood, granite, marble. The Pima and Apache baskets, Zuni and Navajo jewelry and Hopi kachinas not only “catch the eye;” they entice the visitor’s curiosity.

Bronze piece shows intricate details of animals

Zelma Basha Salmeri was an aunt of board chairman and CEO Eddie Basha Jr., who died March 26. Zelma passed along her love of art to her nephew and encouraged his hobby as a collector, so this collection is a tribute to her. He began collecting these works in 1971, and continued to expand the gallery throughout his life.

Contemporary pieces include ink and watercolor paintings

Many of the artists can be identified with the organization of western artists, Cowboy Artists of America. Joe Beeler, James Reynolds, Howard Terpning and George Phippen are represented here as well as John Clymer, who is known for his western art and his famous magazine art used on 80 front covers of “Saturday Evening Post.” Display cases created with hammered copper and glass boast fine examples of silver, turquoise and coral jewelry, Zuni fetishes and seed pots.

Paintings often depict an eventful scene as in John Clymer’s

Basha’s Art Gallery-goers should opt to take a few minutes to read the captions – to learn about the scene’s background and become acquainted with the artist. Then one can ascertain how each work is the sum of much historical data collection, creative imagination and technical interpretation. These artists must have also carried a fierce determination, as if it’s a parallel to their subjects and the spirit of the American frontier.

One part of the Kachina (or katsina) collection

There is no charge to visit the gallery, located in south Chandler, at 22402 S. Basha Road. Hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit the website.

Yavapai, Navajo, Apache and Pima tribes represented in the basket room

Note: This blog post first appeared April 21, 2011. I wanted to reprise an updated version now as kind a personal tribute to the late Eddie Basha Jr. I believe this amazing art gallery that Mr. Basha opened to all demonstrates how much he cared about his community as well as Arizona’s diverse history and cultural heritage.

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