Casa Grande Ruins National Monument Boundary Expansion
UPDATE (SEPTEMBER 16, 2013): Regional media reports on support for the proposed boundary expansion.
From the Coolidge Examiner (9/11/13): Kirkpatrick Tours Coolidge — Boundary expansion bill promoted at Ruins open house
From San Tan Valley.com (9/10/13): Supervisors Join Congresswoman Kirkpatrick at Casa Grande Ruins
From the Casa Grande Dispatch (9/9/13): Editorial: Weekend Viewpoint (scroll to final item)
UPDATE (SEPTEMBER 5, 2013): Rep. Kirkpatrick discusses legislative process at a well-attended open house at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument.
In June 2013, Representatives Ann Kirkpatrick, Paul Gosar, Raúl Grijalva, and Ed Pastor introduced bipartisan legislation (H.R. 2497) to expand the boundaries of Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. On Thursday, September 5, 2013, Representative Ann Kirkpatrick (D) and Penny Pew, District Director for Rep. Paul Gosar (R), discussed the legislation at an open house at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. Attendees included several Pinal County supervisors, Coolidge mayor Tom Shope, O’odham elder Barnaby Lewis (Gila River Indian Community Tribal Historic Preservation Office), and local and tribal community members. Archaeology Southwest President and CEO Bill Doelle provided an overview of the area’s rich archaeological resources, highlighting those places that boundary expansion would protect.
Advocates of the proposal—the Coolidge Chamber of Commerce, Friends of Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, and Archaeology Southwest, among others—hope that the legislation will be scheduled for a hearing in the Public Lands and Environment subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee soon after members return from summer recess. The proposal maintains widespread support.
History of Archaeology Southwest’s involvement (2009–present):
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. Two previous bills did not receive approval by the House of Representatives, one introduced by Rep. Rick Renzi in 2005 and a second introduced by Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in 2010. In June 2010, Archaeology Southwest President William H. Doelle testified in Washington D.C. in support of the 2010 bill. There is optimism that the bipartisan support among the sponsors and the strong local community support will lead to a favorable outcome for the 2013 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.