Soon after the government shutdown ended, we took a ride back to Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. It was a nice day for a drive through the desert through the Gila River Indian Reservation on Route 387.
When we were here a few weeks ago and could only see the ruins from the gate, I knew it was a large structure, but didn’t know anything else about the site. I was pleasantly surprised how neat this place was.
Theres a nice little museum filled with interesting artifacts
According to the brochure the park ranger hands out, and the NPS website, the site was discovered around 1694 by Padre Eusebio Francisco Kino, who named it Casa Grande (Spanish for “great house”) Archeologists have discovered evidence that the people who built Casa Grande also developed wide-scale irrigation farming and extensive trade connections which lasted over a thousand years until it was abandoned around 1450
It’s four stories high and 60 feet long, with a platform mound filling the first floor. It’s the largest known structure of the Ancestral People of the Sonoran Desert. Its walls face the four cardinal points of the compass, and a circular hole in the upper west wall aligns with the setting sun at the summer solstice. Other openings align with the sun and moon at specific times. These opening could be related to times of plantings, harvestings, or celebrations. No one knows for sure since the purpose of the compound remains a mystery.
Casa Grande Ruins is a very interesting place and we recommend you visit if you’re in the area. The ruins are actually located in Coolidge, which is around 20 miles from the city of Casa Grande.
Not much else is happening the next two weeks as we will be preparing for our trip across the pacific.