Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Huck's Museum and the Promise of Fried Chicken.

Before I can actually tell you about Huck's Museum and Trading Post, I'll need to tell how we got there in the first place. We had just spent several hours hiking and exploring the Old Pioneer Dugway (outside Bluff, UT), and the slickrock ledges above it (that's for another post).  While I had brought along snacks, that wasn't enough for Roy and he wanted to hurry home as I had promised to make him fried chicken.  As we traveled northward, along Route 191, we were passing by Huck's and the OPEN sign was by the road, the neon sign inside was lit.

Now we had often passed by Huck's, but it was either closed, or we were hurrying off to elsewhere.  It was Sunday and we were surprised to see the open signs, but I told Roy I wanted to go in.  He kept driving though and pretended he had not heard me, so I asked him, "Umm, the museum, are we going?"  He replied, "I'm hungry and want fried chicken."  We were now two blocks away when I replied back, "You want fried chicken?  I want to see the museum; it's open, we're here; no museum, no fried chicken!"  Roy slowed the vehicle, checked traffic and did a U-turn back to Huck's.

Huck's Museum and Trading Post

1243 South Main Street (Route 191)
Blanding, Utah, 84511-3204

Phone: (435) 678-2329

The entrance to Huck's brings you directly into the trading post with all manner of knick-knacks for sale; the majority of them are Native American in origin (jewelry, pottery, Kachina dolls, carvings), local books and Blue Mountains Shadows, the magazine of San Juan County.  There are also old time artifacts on the walls, so you're sort of in a museum without being in the actual museum.

Now, as Huck told us later on, he's a hoarder; as soon as he empties out one area, it simply gets piled up again.  No wonder then that you won't notice him right away sitting by his desk, so don't jump when you hear his low, raspy voice say "Hello".  Hugh Acton (aka Huck) is, at first glance, a man of small stature (5'1"), frail and bent from the vestiges of age (87 years old), and cancer of the throat explaining the voice.  It's the eyes that give away that this old man is full of life yet; his tales are knowledgeable about San Juan County, and he is a pip!  Don't underestimate him; he's not dead yet and is still full of surprises!

The fee for the tour is $10 and well worth every penny and while the handwritten sign says "no photos allowed", he might just let you take one.  Huck owns and runs the museum/trading post on his own, and you can hear the love for his labors come through as he tells his tales.  There are mind blowing collections of arrowheads, beads, jewelry, tools, all types of pottery, axe heads (462 on one wall alone!) and sandals made from various plant fibers.  Thousands of artifacts, some of which he reconstructed himself, are housed in glass display cases that he built, designed, and labeled. His collection includes donations from local residents of the county, as well as artifacts from other sites throughout the United States, Mexico, Peru, and around the world. The "Hall of Fame" is a collection of artifacts sent to him by people from all over, who have visited the museum and knew he would appreciate their gifts.  He carefully labels each one with the name of the donor and the location where the artifact was found.

We developed an easy rapport with Huck; the first story he told was of when his father went to the 1934 World's Fair in Chicago and brought home a model of a Grey Hound bus.  "Well funny that." I said, "When I was a little girl, I went to the 1964 World's Fair in New York and have lots of souvenirs still."  His smile got so big, and I bet he was hoping I'd donate them to his museum.  He asked us many a question and was pleased when we showed we knew much about San Juan County.  Huck showed us the golden shovel he was able to keep from the dedication ceremony of the new Four Corners Monument; he was so proud!  By the way, did you know that the Anasazi invented the microphone?  No?  Then you better head on into Huck's and see the proof of it all.  We oohed and aahed, we smiled and laughed till our faces hurt; this was one experience that would remain memorable!

Huck himself must have had a really good time with us; he actually offered to give us our money back as a thank you for making his day...we refused of course.  After we left I asked Roy if he was glad we stopped and I made him wait for his fried chicken.  Oh yeah, he was happy, and that chicken was simply the ending to a great day.

Mary Cokenour


  1. Mary, Huck passed away Thursday 1-21-16. I'm his nephew and it's been a couple years since I'd seen him. I'd like to hang on to your pictures as they are the most recent I have.

    1. Oh, I am so saddened by this; I never got the chance to go down and give him one more hug. Your uncle was the kindest, sweetest man. Of course you can hang on to those photos.

    2. Hi Mike I was sorry to hear of Huck's passing. My kids and I came through blanding hoping for another visit with Huck this spring. Does the family have any plans to continue the museum? Definately one of the greatest collections on display in the US. So greatful for Huck's passion and love of sharing it.

  2. Thanks for sharing! Huck is such a sweet old man! R.I.P. Huck ♡

  3. Thank you for sharing! R.I.P. Huck! He was such a sweet old man♡

  4. I've been through the museum at least twenty times and donated odds and ends through the years... i was and still am deeply saddened to learn of "Hucks" passing ...i will grieve just as if I lost a member of my own family since i felt so close to him ... "Hey Huck.. keep looking down old friend, there's got to be something worth picking up , up there"!! forever in my memories ....

  5. I to have passed threw the museum back when it was just a buck to see the goodies not knowing what I was in for...lol This kind man walked us threw his awesome museum of artifacts and story's yes we both were amazed. Huck allowed me to take a pic of him in front of the artifacts that I still have in my photo album. I also gave him some beads from my home town that I just happen to have with me :) I always wanted to go back to see him again. RIP my friend!

  6. Was lucky enough to spend an afternoon with Huck two years ago. Hucks and his museum a great pleasure....your time was good Huck...God Bless.

  7. My 12 year old daughter and I stopped by Huck's a couple of years ago on the way to Bluff...I'd always wanted to stop, and so glad we did! What a neat guy...I'm sure Blanding will be missing this local character.
    Margo from Park City

  8. My brother, sister and I have visited Huck several times. A truly impressive man. We still speak of him and the treasures he shared with us. Saddened to hear of his passing. A legend is gone.

  9. Visited with Huck this past September. And what a visit is was!!! Was planning on seeing him again this September and am saddened by his passing. May he rest in peace.