Casa Grande National Monument

Click on any picture to see it full-size.

Casa Grande is in the tiny town of Coolidge, which just happened to be one offramp away from where I spent the night, so it was perfect for my first 'thing to do'. It's another of the ruins of a town built by what are called the Hohokam by archaeologists and every other site I've been to in this area, but in the monument are referred to as the Ancient Sonoran Desert Peoples. I asked a ranger about this, and he said the Native Americans who still live in the area object to the term Hohokam because it means something like, the ones who are gone...and they're not gone. Interesting politics.

The monument is in the town of Coolidge; as you can see from the first picture, it's IN THE TOWN, which of course raises all kinds of issues of land use and preservation. The roof was put over the largest part of the buildings in the 1930s to preserve the adobe buildings from further deterioration, mostly due to weather.

This thing is huge, by the way; it's several stories tall, and the shelter is taller still. Very impressive!

Here are some of the informational signs about the compound. The large building was only one of seven, and the whole compound was as big as two football fields side by side.

Here's a map of the whole thing; the large building on the lower left is the big building under the roof.

And of course there were cacti everywhere!

I saw this guy at work and went over to talk to him; he's retired and does this because he loves it. He's painting adobe mud on the walls to repair and strengthen them. He showed me how he mixes it and paints it on, and talked about the adobe itself and the restoration efforts that have been made over the years. Really nice and interesting guy.
Outdoors, there was a walkway with a high viewpoint so one could see where there was another mound and set of buildings. The panorama on the right was taken from there.