Casa Grande Ruins National Monument is located in Coolidge, Arizona, about an hour’s drive from either Phoenix or Tuscon. It’s believed that this ancient structure was occupied by one large family of the Hohokam society. Ancestors of the Pima Indians, the Hohokam made pottery and jewelry, farmed the land, and traded their wares for a variety of items.
This building is part of a compound, much like our neighborhoods. Within one square mile, a number of other compounds stood during the early 1300s. It’s believed that this compound was only occupied for a few generations before it was abandoned towards the end of the century. The reasons for the decline of the Hohokam society are unknown.
To protect the ruins, Congress declared it a federal reserve in 1889. The structure was repaired and reinforced. The roof you see here was built in 1932 at a cost of $28,000 – it needs repainting every 15-20 years at a cost of over $100,000.
The land occupied by these ruins is in the heart of the city, and Casa Grande is visible from many of the main streets running along its perimeter. From the parking lot of a brand-new strip mall or gas station, you can see the remnants of a prehistoric society. The contrast is striking.