Casa Grande has a nice little museum in a very pretty building preserving the story of the Casa Grande area from pre-history to more recent times. Hours are 12 PM to 4 PM Thursday through Sunday (from mid-September to mid-May), and the 2nd Saturday of the month in June, July and August. Admission is $5 for adults and $4 for seniors. Free for kids! The main building is an old church that was built of stone from the area and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Casa Grande (or Great House) is the centerpiece of a Hohokam Village and was built 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 went before". In 1892, Casa Grande became the nation's first archeological reserve. There are indications that the great house was used for astronomical observations which told the inhabitants when to plant and harvest crops and other vital cultural and religious times. Interesting petroglyphs and pottery have been found here too.
Your first stop will be the Visitor Center where you pay your entrance fee 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.
In addition to the remains of other village buildings, there is a ballcourt used by the village in competitions within the village and against other villages.
I have a full review of this site on my Casa Grande National Monument Page.
There isn't much to do in Casa Grande, but many nearby places to hike. Picacho Peak is beautiful in the spring when the flowers are in bloom. If you have a four-wheel-drive Jeep, Box Canyon is a nice drive, or there are ghost towns close enough for a day trip.
There is the remains of a ball court that was in the village (complete with solar-powered electronic guide). These ball courts were found throughout the southern native settlements (primarily those in what is now Mexico.
What the parks personnel tell us is that this is an indication of the trade and cultural exchange going on between the various tribes at the time. Its too bad that there is nobody around that can tell us how exactly the ball courts were used. The explanations we hear are different from historical site to historical site.
By the way, it is best to enlarge the picture. It is shaped like a pancake which doesn't reduce well in VT.
Casa Grande was probably the crowning acheivement of the Hohokam culture. The building's four walls face north, east, south and west. There are holes in the walls that line up to indicate when significant celestial events take place, like summer soltace.
The naturalists at the site cannot figure out why the town was abandoned by the Hohokam. They have determined that Case Grande was abandoned approximately 1450. Perhaps they used all the limited resources in the neighbourhood (cacti, etc.) or their irrigation dried up - nobody knows!
The main Casa Grande Ruin is protected from the environment's destructive forces by a huge roof structure built in 1930.
The price to enter is $3 per adult, or you can use a yearly National parks pass
Casa Grande was a four story structure built by the Hohokam natives in the early 1300's. Casa Grande was part of a village covering about one square mile and supported by irrigation from the Gila River.
The walls of the building were built from a mixture of sand, clay and limestone. Amazingly, it has lasted 6 centuries (with a little help from a ceiling these past 100 years)
There is park office where you have to pay, and a self-guided trail (or you can wait for a ranger-guided tour).
The main Casa Grande Ruin is protected from the environment's destructive forces by a huge roof structure. It looks as if Casa Grande is covered by a Porch Grande. It is hard too imagine what this four-story building looked like without the roof, without the darkness of the shade. Impressive!
Another neat looking building is the Old Casa Grande Women's Club which is located across the street from the Heritage Hall Museum. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to meet the locals. Here are two very attractive locals from Casa Grande.
In February of each year Casa Grande hosts a all indian festival and rodeo. Called 'Tohono O'odaham Tash®'. The whole town is busy with festivals, parades, dances rodeos and more...