Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Casa Grande Ruins

Casa Grande, Arizona         High 84 Low 63

This morning we drove to the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument near Coolidge, Arizona. It was about a 25 minute drive for us. The national monument consists of the ruins of multiple structures surrounded by a compound wall constructed by the ancient people of the Hohokam period, who farmed the Gila Valley in the early 13th century. "Archeologists have discovered evidence that the ancient Sonoran Desert people who built the Casa Grande also developed wide-scale irrigation farming and extensive trade connections which lasted over a thousand years until about 1450 C.E."
"Casa Grande" is Spanish for "big house", these names refer to the largest structure on the site, which is what remains of a four story structure that may have been abandoned by 1450. The structure is made of caliche, and has managed to survive the extreme weather conditions for about seven centuries. The large house consists of outer rooms surrounding an inner structure. The outer rooms are all three stories high, while the inner structure is four stories high. The structures were constructed using traditional adobe processes. The wet adobe is thicker at the base and adds significant strength. Horizontal cracks can be noticed and this defines the breaks between courses on the thick outer walls.  The process consisted of using damp adobe to form the walls and then waiting for it to dry, and then building it up with more adobe. Case Grande contained a ball court much like that found at Pueblo Grande de Nevada. Father Eusebio Kino was the first European to view the Hohokam complex in November 1694 and named it Casa Grande. Graffiti from 19th-century passers-by is scratched into its walls; though this is now illegal. Casa Grande now has a distinctive modern roof covering built in 1932.

It's amazing how much is left after over 700 years.

The roof is almost 85 years old.

Yes, Penny had to go with us!

They had some extensive canals, all hand dug.

We watch a video narrated by the Native Americans that say they are the descendants of the people that built the ruins, but no one knows for sure what happened to the people. One theory is that they got so populace that they ran out of water and had to move. Another is that there were lots of rains, which destroyed their ditches, which necessitated them, moving, but no one can say for sure what happened. It is estimated that the move, for whatever reason, took place about 100 years after the Big House was built. From the video we learned that they had built the ditches with what looked like walking sticks and hoes. They had no large animals to help, so all of it was by man-power.

It was an interesting visit and the weather couldn’t have been better. There really isn’t a lot left to see, but we were glad to have spent a short time there.

Thanks for visiting.


  1. I found those ruins fascinating. We had a really good tour guide when we were there.

  2. The Pinal County musuem is very good and it's been featured on the TV show, Mysteries at the Museum.