Joe and Nancy

Joe and Nancy
Our Home on Wheels (Click on image above for our web albums.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Casa Grande National Monument, AZ

Casa Grande Ruins National Monument contains an imposing 4-storey building dating from the late Hohokam period, probably 14th century and contemporary with other well preserved ruins in Arizona such as the Tonto and Montezuma Castle monuments. It is situated in the flat plain of central Arizona in between the Gila and Santa Cruz rivers, just north of Coolidge and about 15 miles from the larger town of Casa Grande. The structure was once part of a collection of settlements scattered along the Gila River and linked by a network of irrigation canals. The area has a low elevation and hence is very hot - often over 110°F for several months in the summer. During spring, this part of Arizona is sometimes the hottest place in the whole USA, and even in winter, daytime temperatures can reach 80°F.

On our way to Casa Grande we encountered some neat flora & fauna as we passed through Tonto National Forest and the Pima-Maricopa Indian Reservation just east of Mesa and Scottsdale. 

A creek bottom near Roosevelt Lake Recreation area in Tonto NF.

It was a breezy day and around 80 when we visited Casa Grande.  We drove through the quaint little restored town of Florence.  Would like to return here sometime and do their town walking tour.  The Monument is a remarkable piece of our prehistoric history, when you learn that it was the largest known structure.  It was 60' x 40' and 40 feet tall, and stood within a bound compound of approx 200' x 500', and this compound was part of several compounds and pit houses that comprised a community of the Hohokam people and their way of communal life.

One of the smaller buildings near the main house.

Some of the folks in our tour group, with the Ranger on the left and Miss Nancy on the right.

The Ranger with the main house in the background.

An iside wall view that shows the details of the remnants of where the small logs were laid as the building went up.  The Indians used the "Ciliche" that was abundant in the area.  Ciliche was the concrete like substance that lay a one to three feet below the desert surface and was harvested and remanufactured as mud for the construction of the house.

In order to provide some protection from the rain (what little they get), the NP Service in 1932 built the large shelter over the Monument.  It has done fairly well without shelters when you think about though, as it has been standing here for nearly a thousand years.

One of the entrances to the house.

This smaller adobe was at the southwestern corner of the compound.

Well, tomorrow (Saturday) we plan to visit the Montezuma Castle NM and the Montezuma Lake, which is about 11 miles north along I-17.  Until then, Joe & Nancy