Casa Grande Ruins National Monument

Written by on February 27, 2015 in AZ History & Heritage - Comments Off on Casa Grande Ruins National Monument

Casa Grande means “great house” and Casa Grande Ruins National Monument preserves an ancient Hohokam farming community. It was the first cultural and prehistoric site to be protected by the United States government.
Speculation is that Casa Grande may have been used as an astronomical observatory, which might help explain the unusual size of the structure and surrounding settlements. Exactly at sunset on summer solstice, archeologists have noted that the sun is perfectly framed in a window in one of the upper rooms of the structure.

This four-story building, created long before steel girders, welds, rivets on anything else we consider necessary to modern safety, is a marvel of its time. More than 600 hundred wooden beams (brought in from the mountains 50 miles away) support more than 3,000 tons of clay created from water and caliche soil. The fact that it yet stands today is a testament to the skill of these ancient builders.

The Hohokam culture lived successfully in the area surrounding Casa Grande from 300 A.D. to about 1450 A.D. when they mysteriously disappeared. While they harvested the bounty of the desert including saguaro fruit, mesquite beans and more, they were also noted canal builders, channeling water to cultivated fields of corn and beans. These amazing people dug hundreds of miles of canals and diverted water from two rivers, and the canals are still used today for the same purpose.

Casa Grande Ruins National Monument is open every day of the year from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day when the park is closed. The visitor center contains a bookstore and museum with a 15-minute video presentation. Guest can enjoy a self-guided tour around the Casa Grande Ruins following wayside signs, however guided tours are available from December through April. The entry fee of $5 per adult (children 15 and younger are free) is used to help preserve the monument and grounds.

Other attractions in the area include:
Saguaro National Park
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Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Casa Grande Ruins NM
1100 W. Ruins Drive
Coolidge, AZ 85128
(520) 723-3172

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