Casa Grande National Monument in Arizona

Updated on May 26, 2020
Peggy W profile image

Arizona is a fabulous state filled with beauty and natural wonders. Amazing canyons (Grand!), mountains, and desert scenery await visitors.

Casa Grande National Monument
Casa Grande National Monument | Source

Casa Grande National Monument

Archaeologists have found much of interest at this site, as ancient pueblo peoples lived, worked and died here for many centuries. Much of this was before the "discovery" of this continent by explorers from Europe and other countries, plus the westward expansion of settlers in what would eventually become the United States.

Relics of the past, including ancient ruins, were left behind as a testament to Native American Indian presence.

Casa Grande, a national monument, was on my hubby’s and my list of places to explore one year when we were spending some time in Arizona.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Casa GrandeMain entrance buildingDifferent views of the national monumentDifferent views of the national monumentNational Archives and Records Administration / Public domainDifferent view of the monument and ruins
Casa Grande
Casa Grande | Source
Main entrance building
Main entrance building | Source
Different views of the national monument
Different views of the national monument | Source
Different views of the national monument
Different views of the national monument | Source
National Archives and Records Administration / Public domain
National Archives and Records Administration / Public domain | Source
Different view of the monument and ruins
Different view of the monument and ruins | Source

Preparing for a Visit

Casa Grande is in the Sonoran Desert, one of North America's largest and hottest of deserts. Depending upon the season of the year when visiting this national monument, one should dress accordingly.

Winters in the desert (November to March) can be reasonably comfortable with moderately high temperatures ranging from averages of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) with lower night-time temperatures. In the summer months, those high temperatures can become sizzling!

Do plan on wearing comfortable clothing with good walking shoes. Sunglasses and having and using suntan lotion is a smart precaution. No matter what time of year one is vacationing in the southern reaches of Arizona, the sun is almost always bright and dazzling.

When traveling through any desert territory, always having plenty of water or other fluids is a must!

Life in the Sonoran Desert

The Sonoran desert covers a good part of southwestern Arizona, parts of southern California, Baja California and parts of Mexico. Many plants and wildlife survive in that environment, including the iconic saguaro cactus.

Hohokam Indian people lived in that part of Arizona for over one thousand years before disappearing around the year 1450 from this Casa Grande site.

They were successful farmers scratching out a living in this desert territory by successfully building a series of irrigation canals.

By watching the sun's progress, a new and very accurate calendar was followed and utilized by these Hohokam Indian farmers. Farmers today also pay attention to the time of year and the best time to plant their new crops.

Archaeological ruins show how these native Americans used the sun for gauging the time of day and time of year. Petroglyphs also show marks scratched and drawn onto stones with images of the sun as well as other drawings of importance related to how they lived.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Casa Grande ConstructionDetail view of the monumentDetail view of the monumentCasa Grande Big House Interior
Casa Grande Construction
Casa Grande Construction | Source
Detail view of the monument
Detail view of the monument | Source
Detail view of the monument
Detail view of the monument | Source
Casa Grande Big House Interior
Casa Grande Big House Interior | Source

Discovery and Protection of These Ruins

As people started moving and settling in the west, those native American ruins were discovered. Father Eusebio Kino saw the site in November of 1694 and named it Casa Grande. Sadly, people began removing remnants of this ancient Hohokam Indian culture as well as drawing graffiti onto the walls.

President Benjamin Harrison, in 1892 designated this Casa Grande as the first-ever historical and cultural reserve in the United States worth protecting. The name Casa Grande means "big house" or "grand house," and the most massive structure, which is about four stories high, certainly dominates the landscape. One square mile was originally set aside containing these ruins.

By 1918 President Woodrow Wilson declared it to be a national monument, and the National Park Service took over its management.

Reinforcement of the caliche Indian ruins was undertaken to preserve it. A protective corrugated roof was built over the "big house" in 1903 to protect it from the elements.

Caliche is a sedimentary rock found in desert conditions around the world. These ancient pueblo peoples used what they found in the Sonoran Desert readily available to build their domiciles. However, caliche does not hold up well to rain. A second steel roof constructed in 1932 now protects these ruins further.

As of October 1966, it is now on the National Register of Historic Places.


The Civilian Conservation Corps was a popular program that employed out of work single young men during the Great Depression. They did outstanding jobs with long-lasting effects, some of which included things such as the following:

  • Flood control
  • Erosion control
  • Forestry conservation and protection
  • Building of roads
  • Building of lodges
  • Even items with recreational purposes such as the stocking of lakes and streams with fish.

The CCC employees were not paid that much. However, during the Great Depression, being fed, receiving a little money (most of which was paid to their family) and accomplishing tasks of importance was better than being one of the countless people who had no job and who had to stand in soup lines for a bit of daily nourishment. These young men were fortunate temporary employees of the Federal Government during that time.

From 1937 to 1940, Civilian Conservation Corps members built Adobe Park headquarter buildings on the site next to Casa Grande. The park service still operates from those buildings today.

CCC workers building a rock wall
CCC workers building a rock wall | Source


Casa Grande National Monument is in Coolidge, Arizona. You will find it about forty miles south of Phoenix on the way to Tucson, Arizona.

It is well worth a stop if traveling to Arizona on vacation. Take time out to stroll the desert grounds and learn about the ancient ruins left behind in the 13th century by the Hohokam people. See some of the relics in the museum and enjoy the surrounding Sonoran desert scenery.

Monuments are the grappling-irons that bind one generation to another.

— Joseph Joubert

Does this look like a place you would enjoy visiting?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    © 2020 Peggy Woods


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        36 minutes ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi C E Clark,

        I agree that the man lucked out on getting to walk inside of Casa Grande. Thanks for your comment and the shares.

      • Au fait profile image

        C E Clark 

        8 hours ago from North Texas

        Great photos as usual. I've traveled around Arizona quite a bit many years ago now, but I don't recall seeing this. That man in the video who was wanting to fly his drone sure did luck out getting to go inside and look around!

        Posting this on AH & FB.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        22 hours ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Aurelio,

        There are many ruins in Arizona as well as New Mexico. I think you will be amazed if you search the national monument sites in Arizona.

      • alocsin profile image

        Aurelio Locsin 

        26 hours ago from Orange County, CA

        I've seen ruins similar to these in New Mexico but had no idea that Arizona had them as well. We are planning a trip to Phoenix soon and will put this on the sightseeing list because it is close to the city.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        9 days ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Rajan,

        They were smart to build those houses out of the local soil and create irrigation systems for their crops. What is left behind and now protected tells some of that story from long ago.

      • rajan jolly profile image

        Rajan Singh Jolly 

        10 days ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

        Makes me wonder how life would have been then for these people out in the desert. One thing is for sure, these mud housings certainly kept them cool. Casa Grande is a huge structure. These ancient people were much-advanced technologically, even in those times.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        10 days ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Linda,

        If you ever decide to travel south from where you live, I think that you will find Arizona a fascinating place to explore.

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 

        10 days ago from British Columbia, Canada

        This sounds like a very interesting place to explore. I would definitely visit the Casa Grande National Monument if I was in Arizona! Thank you for sharing the information, Peggy.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        10 days ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Adrienne,

        There are so many noteworthy sites in Arizona for you to enjoy once you are free to do so. My recommendation would be to put Sedona at the top of your list. It is so very scenic and beautiful! Oak Creek Canyon just north of it is also gorgeous. Take care!

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        10 days ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi FlourishAnyway,

        Between the CCC and the WPA, those agencies helped many people recover from the Great Depression. With our infrastructure crumbling in many places across the U.S., it would seem like programs like those from the past would surely help in this day and time. We need some good political leadership from the top to accomplish it.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        10 days ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Doris,

        Sedona is one of the most beautiful places on the planet! You are fortunate to have a cousin living there. When it is safe to travel again, put that on your bucket list. You will be glad you did.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        10 days ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Pamela,

        I am happy to know that you enjoyed learning about these ancient ruins.

      • alexadry profile image

        Adrienne Farricelli 

        11 days ago

        Hi Peggy, so nice that you were able to visit Casa Grande! Although my home is in Arizona, I haven't been able to do much traveling other than local attractions because I always had dogs to watch. The farthest I have gone is to Mesa. I hope to have the time one day to stop by Casa Grande. I also have Sedona on my wish list.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image


        11 days ago from USA

        I’ve never been to Arizona but would enjoy visiting places like this. It sounds like the Conservation Corps needs to be resurrected for the good of the nation and hungry people.

      • MizBejabbers profile image

        Doris James MizBejabbers 

        11 days ago from Beautiful South

        I would love to visit lots of places in Arizona. I've never had any reason to, but now I have a cousin living in Sedona. Maybe I'll make it out there someday. I've lived in NM before though, but never made it to Arizona. Your article makes me want to go.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        11 days ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Ruby,

        Temperatures in the desert can vary widely from the heat of the day to nighttime. I am glad that you enjoyed one of the videos.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        11 days ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Mary,

        We visited in the wintertime, so the temperatures were quite pleasant. It was bright and sunny, however, just like Tucson. Spending an entire winter in Tucson must have been fun.

      • Pamela99 profile image

        Pamela Oglesby 

        11 days ago from Sunny Florida

        The pueblo ruins are sure intereting. I have driven through that area f the country but doubt I will have an opportunity to return. I certainly enjoyed your article. Thanks Peggy for this new information.

      • always exploring profile image

        Ruby Jean Richert 

        11 days ago from Southern Illinois

        The history around the Casa Grande National Monument is interesting. I have been to Bisbee Ariz. to see a relative, I remember how cold it got at night and how hot the days were. What was the most amazing was the Indian's ability to build these structures. I watched the video which was interesting also.

      • aesta1 profile image

        Mary Norton 

        11 days ago from Ontario, Canada

        My husband and I spent one winter in Tucson and explored the area around so we visited this place. It was quite a new knowledge for us. We enjoyed the weather in the Sonoran desert but I have never been there in the summer.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        11 days ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Bill,

        This article was in edit form for quite some time. As to avoiding Arizona because of the heat, if you visit it in the wintertime of year, it snows at the Grand Canyon and can be chilly in the northern areas of the state. excuses! Ha!

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        11 days ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Liz,

        I am pleased that you enjoyed learning about this early Native American ruins and artifacts found there.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        12 days ago from Olympia, WA

        You threw me for a loop. This isn't Houston? lol You know, I've never been to Arizona. I've been to 34 states, but not Arizona. Can you imagine why I've stayed away? The heat! I know, a poor excuse, but there you go.

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        12 days ago from UK

        This looks fascinating. You have done a great job describing it and providing additional information in this article.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        12 days ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Lorna,

        It is always fascinating to learn how people long ago lived and how they survived. These ruins were amazing to see out in that desert scenery. Thanks for your visit.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        12 days ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Diana,

        I agree with you. We can learn things by studying history and archeology.

      • Lorna Lamon profile image

        Lorna Lamon 

        12 days ago

        I would definitely visit these ruins if I were ever in the area. I found the history interesting and also equally important are the safety precautions when out and about. These monuments are always a reminder of who came before us and how our lives are connected.

      • Dianadee profile image

        Diana Carol Abrahamson 

        12 days ago from Somerset West

        Yes, we need to explore our ever changing world and appreciate what went on, long before us.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        12 days ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Diana,

        Getting to see ruins like this gives us a glimpse into the lives of people who lived centuries before us. My husband and I always enjoy seeing sites like this and learning about them.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        12 days ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Bill,

        Yes, the Sonoran desert can be brutal for those unprepared to face the temperatures, lack of water, etc. I hope you like it as much as we did when we visited Casa Grande.

      • Dianadee profile image

        Diana Carol Abrahamson 

        12 days ago from Somerset West

        Incredible monuments that stand the test of time and still attract people into the desert. It has a beauty of its own and history that binds us, as you say, together.

      • bdegiulio profile image

        Bill De Giulio 

        12 days ago from Massachusetts

        I would love to visit Casa Grande, Peggy. I enjoy archaeological ruins and next time we are in the Phoenix area we will check it out. It looks like an unforgiving area in the desert.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)