DescriptionOff SR 87/287, Casa Grande Ruins National Monument lies within the city limits of Coolidge. The Casa Grande (Big House) was built prior to 1350 A.D. by Ancestral Desert People, the prehistoric peoples formerly known as Hohokam. The four-story structure was constructed of layers of caliche mud and represent the height of the period's architectural advancement. Around the main building are the remains of a walled village. A viewing platform overlooking a prehistoric ball court is behind the picnic area.
The Ancestral Desert People lived in the area for many centuries prior to the construction of the Casa Grande. Sometime around 1450 Casa Grande was abandoned for unknown reasons after the Ancestral Desert People had used it for only a century. The ruins were seen and named in 1694 by Father Eusebio Francisco Kino, a missionary who was led to the site by local Akimel O'odham Indians.
The visitor center features a museum and theater with a 22-minute film. Self-guiding tours and picnic facilities are available year-round. Guided tours are available November through March. Allow 1 hour minimum. Monument open daily 9-5; closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. Admission $5; free (ages 0-15). For further information contact the Superintendent, Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, 1100 W. Ruins Dr., Coolidge, AZ 85128; phone (520) 723-3172.
The remains of the four-story “big house” built by Ancestral Desert People about 1350 leave no clue to its purpose or the reason for the group's sudden disappearance a century later.