One of Albuquerque’s best-known dealers in Southwest Indian arts and crafts was Manny Goodman, who, along with his wife Ann, ran the Covered Wagon store on the south side of the Old Town Plaza in Albuquerque.
There is not much information on the couple in print or online, which is a shame. Manny lived to 96 and was active in the business for about 60 years. His original store was on Highway 66, an old-time curio store with teepees on the property and an actual covered wagon on the side of the building. Most of what I know about Manny and Ann is due to a couple of visits to the store when I was young and stories shared by artists and former customers.
They loved Indian art and the Native people and were engaging and always willing to share their knowledge.
When Albuquerque’s Old Town was declared a tourist district and businesses began to remodel and move to the area, Manny and Ann followed along. They were among the original movers and shakers to move to the new location.
They occupied the old Manuel Springer house built between 1909 and 1914 as a two-story Queen Ann-style brick structure with a shingled roof and corner bay windows. After World War II, when the Goodmans moved to the Plaza, the building was remodeled in the Spanish Colonial Revival style. In 1969, a two-story Spanish Colonial balcony was added.
Manny and Ann took possession in the 1940s and became the central attraction on the Plaza. They hired Navajo silversmiths and Pueblo artists who demonstrated their crafts in the window of the building. They bought and sold the best in Navajo rugs, Pueblo Pottery, and Indian jewelry and carried a healthy selection of Route 66 Curio items. It was a fun store to go into, and the quality of the Native art was top-notch. And, like any good dealer who wants to build a customer base, the Goodmans carried various price points.
Manny died in 2004. The Covered Wagon had already begun to drift into a tourist souvenir shop. Still, anyone who visited during the days when he and Ann ran the store remembers the quality of the jewelry, the pottery (with lots of pieces by Maria Martinez), and the great collection of Navajo weavings. My Dad used to sell weaving to the Covered Wagon, and he always spoke highly of the couple and viewed them as legends in the business.
This last month we received two beautiful squash blossom necklaces purchased from the Covered Wagon in 1972. One is made with matching blue turquoise, and the other is set with amazing deep red Mediterranean coral. All of the beads are handmade and obviously by the same silversmith. These are necklaces that stand out for their simple beauty.
The owner, originally from Germany, said that when she moved to the Southwest, she didn’t appreciate Indian arts. After visiting the Covered Wagon and becoming friends with Ann, she began to understand the beauty of handcrafted indigenous work.
“I bought the turquoise necklace one morning, and that afternoon, I had to go back and get the coral one,” she said. “I have worn and loved these necklaces for fifty years, and it is time to let someone else cherish them.”
The woman kept the two necklaces in the original gift boxes they were put into when she purchased them. That is unusual!
These necklaces are small, delicate treasures from a business that, during its prime, supported thousands of Native artists.