Casa Grande National Monument

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1100 W Ruins Drive, Coolidge, AZ, USA

Casa Grande National Monument Coolidge Reviews

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See the Largest Hohokam Ruins in the United States Mar 07, 2017
Casa Grande (or Great House) is the centerpiece of a Hohokam Village and was built during the Late Classic Period in the 1300s. It is four stories high and 60 feet long. It took nearly 3000 tons of a concrete-like mixture of sand, clay and limestone called caliche to build this, the largest known Hohokam structure. Casa Grande received its name from early Spanish explorers like Father Eusebio Kino. When asked by the explorers who built the village the nearby Pima Indians said "Hohokam" which means "all gone" or "those who have gone before". In 1892, Casa Grande became the nation's first archeological reserve. The following paragraphs are keyed to the photos; after Photo 12.

Visitor's Center: Your first stop will be the Visitor Center where you pay your entrance fee of $5 and where you can see the displays in the rather well-done museum. You can also get an informative brochure about the park, information about other area attractions, and buy gifts and souvenirs.

Museum: The displays in the museum explain about the Hohokam and their way of life. The first display shows what the archeologists believe a typical Hohokam house would look like; the next shows how a pithouse (the most common Hohokam structure) is constructed; the third is a Ramada. the Hohokam constructed these for outdoor activities especially during the hot summer months; I found the displays about the progression of their pottery making interesting too. The photos show some Hohokam Pottery, in the first pottery photo; the jar on the right is called a red on buff design and dates from the pre-Classic Period (1150 to 1300), the jar on the left is called Red Ware and is from the Classic Period (1300 to 1400); and the next photo shows some pottery fragments showing the importance of animals to the Hohokam. I have also included a few more pottery photos. Take note of the “Please Touch Me” table set up so kids can touch some of the relics from the ruins and the culture.

Ballcourt: Thre is an unexcavated mound that is a prehistoric ballcourt that was probably used by the Hohokam in the 1100 to 1200 timeframe. It had room for about 12 players. A large green polished stone was found embedded in the center of the field.

Caliche: The photo titled "Caliche" is a close view of what the concrete-like mixture of sand, clay and limestone called caliche (cuh-LEE-chee) looks like.

Other Ruins: Casa Grande was only one building of several in a large compound that was like a modern neighborhood. There were also at least four other compounds that made up the entire village. Casa Grande, however, was unique amongst all the compounds and villages of the Hohokam.

Interpretive Ramada: They have an Interpretive Ramada on site where you can study the area and where they sometimes have lectures about Casa Grande and the Hohokam.

Observatory: One of the uses of Casa Grande may have been as an Observatory and calendar. Different openings in the building align with the sun and the moon at different times. The small round opening on the west wall shown here aligns with the setting sun on the Summer Solstice (the longest day of the year). The small square hole aligns perfectly with the moon at the extreme point of it's cycle which occurs every 18 1/2 years. Could the Hohokam have designed this to tell them when to plant and harvest? Did it have some religious significance? No one knows for sure.

Picnic Area: The Casa Grande National Monument has a nice picnic area, complete with grills set up across the parking lot from the Visitor Center.

Village Center: This area, near the ballcourt, is believed to have been a large plaza that served as the Village Center. Here all members of the community would gather for social and religious events.

Warning Wall/Vandalism: The walls of the ruins are fragile, please stay off the walls to help preserve them for future generations to enjoy. In the 1800s Casa Grande was a big tourist attraction. Unfortunately, people took souvenirs, scratched their names on the interior walls, and vandalized or accidentally damaged the structures. In 1892, Casa Grande became the nation's first archeological reserve.
Casa Grande Under the Protective R…
Casa Grande
Casa Grande
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BASAIC says:
It is commonly believed that the idea for the ball courts came up here from Mexico.
Posted on: May 03, 2017
Toonsarah says:
Interesting that they had a ball court, like the ancient cultures further south e.g. Maya
Posted on: Apr 30, 2017
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