Casa Grande Ruins National Monument Boundary Expansion
Toward a Grander Casa Grande
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument in Coolidge, Arizona, is among the state’s best-known cultural landmarks because of its striking “Great House,” one of the largest known prehistoric structures in the United States. Established as the first archaeological reserve by President Benjamin Harrison in 1892, Casa Grande Ruins is not only the largest protected Hohokam site, but also the sole National Park unit that preserves and interprets Hohokam culture. The area enclosed within the park’s current boundary also preserves some of the once-extensive village associated with the impressive adobe structure.
Andy Laurenzi, Archaeology Southwest’s Field Representative, has been working with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, City of Coolidge, Town of Florence, Friends of Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Pinal County Historical Society, and others in support of a National Park Service (NPS) proposal to expand the boundaries of this unique monument.
In keeping with its mission to preserve, interpret, and educate the public about Casa Grande Ruins, the NPS proposes to bring more of the original village and part of the Casa Grande Canal within its boundaries—and thus within NPS’s ability to protect those resources.
The pace of development in metropolitan Phoenix and Tucson has expanded our understanding of the Hohokam through mitigation archaeology, but ancient sites and landscapes are ultimately being obliterated. Despite the current economic crisis and water issues, population in the Phoenix area is projected to double, so much of what remains will be lost. Although communities preserve portions of some Hohokam sites as archaeological parks, these represent a mere fragment of the region’s prehistoric cultural landscape. Some of the best-preserved Hohokam landscapes are on tribal lands, but broader public access is constrained.
Expansion of the monument is, therefore, a singular opportunity to preserve a significant portion of this cultural landscape for future public understanding of our shared past. It will provide a window on the Hohokam world for future generations.
Expansion of Casa Grande Ruins National Monument requires an Act of Congress. Archaeology Southwest President William H. Doelle testified in Washington D.C. in support of the bill.
Adamsville villageAdamsville platform mound village is part of the expansion bill.
Ballcourt at AdamsvilleAerial view of the ballcourt at the Adamsville site.
Casa GrandeAerial view of the south side of the Great House at Casa Grande.
Casa grande horizontalAerial close up of the north side of the Great House at Casa Grande
img_8109Aerial view of Compound B and its two platform mounds at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
Escalante ruin platform mound villageNorth side platform mound village, the Escalante Ruin.
If you are interested in helping to promote these preservation efforts, please contact Andy Laurenzi at Archaeology Southwest, (520) 882-6946, or by email.