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Title: Casa Grande Ruins Trail
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                        Casa Grande Ruins Trail

                _15 cents if you take this booklet home_


    [Illustration: Map of Compound A]


You are in a desert area. Sometimes the desert can be harsh. Cactus
spines can hurt. Intense heat can cause varying degrees of discomfort.
Poisonous animals, though rare, are here. Know your own limitations, and
exercise caution.

                      NATIONAL PARK AND MONUMENTS

Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, one of more than 280 areas
administered by the National Park Service, United States Department of
the Interior, was set aside because of its outstanding archeological
values. This area belongs to you and is part of your heritage as an
American citizen. The men and women in the uniform of the National Park
Service are here to assist you and will welcome the opportunity to make
your visit to Casa Grande Ruins more enjoyable.

The National Park Service was created in 1916 to preserve the National
Parks and Monuments for your enjoyment and that of future generations.
Federal law prohibits activities which would destroy any of the works of
nature or man that are preserved here. These include such activities as
hunting, woodcutting, collecting—even taking of small pieces such as
broken pottery. Please help preserve Casa Grande Ruins National
Monument, and remember: A thoughtless act on your part can destroy in a
few moments something that has been here for centuries. Please stay on
the designated trail.

                        DON’T FORGET YOUR CAMERA

                        Casa Grande Ruins Trail

The Casa Grande Trail is about 400 yards long and an easy walk. Numbered
stakes along the trail are set at points of interest, and corresponding
numbered paragraphs in this booklet explain the features.

You may enter the Casa Grande (Big House) only on a ranger-conducted
guided tour.


From about 2,000 years ago until about A.D. 1450, people living in this
area developed and expanded a stone-age civilization that the
archeologists call the Hohokam (Ho-Ho-Kahm) culture. Hohokam means
“those who have gone” in the language of the nearby Pima Indians, who
are probably descendants of these prehistoric people.

The Hohokam lived in this region for many centuries before building
walled villages like this between A.D. 1300 and 1450. Primarily farmers,
raising corn, beans, squash, and cotton, they developed extensive
irrigation canal systems that took water from the Gila (Hee-la) River.
About A.D. 1450, this village and others like it were abandoned. We do
not know why. When the Spaniards explored this area, they found Pimas,
living in open villages and irrigating their farmlands, several miles to
the west.

2. Village Wall.

The wall around this village originally stood 7 to 11 feet high. There
were no doorways in it. This wall and building of this village are of
caliche, a limy subsoil found 2 to 5 feet below the surface of this
region. To get in or out of the village the Indians used ladders to
climb over the wall. The foundations, all that remain of the wall, are
covered with wire reinforced, tinted-cement stucco to protect them.
Stepping or sitting on the walls may damage them. Help us to protect the

3. Living Room.

This room is one of approximately 60 rooms inside the compound wall.
Walls and floors were made of caliche, and ceilings were layers of
poles, saguaro ribs, and reeds capped with a covering of caliche. Some
rooms, like this one, had doorways; other rooms had hatchways in the
roof centers. A small clay fire pit, about 1 foot in diameter, was in
the center of each room. During hot weather, cooking was done out of
doors. (_See_ next page).

4. The Casa Grande—Northeast Corner.

The Casa Grande was first seen by a European on November 27, 1694, when
Father Kino, a Jesuit missionary and explorer, visited the area. He
called the building the Casa Grande, or Big House, because it was the
biggest structure he had seen in southern Arizona.

The large steel canopy was erected in 1932 to protect the Casa Grande
from rain. This building has not been restored, but to keep it from
crumbling further, the ruin was stabilized in 1891. The undercut base of
the ruin was filled with bricks and cement, two-by-fours were placed
over the doorways, and two steel rods were inserted to brace the south

    [Illustration: _Living Room_]

    [Illustration: _The Casa Grande, Northeast Corner_]

5. The North Side.

The wood over the doorway is not original. There is no original wood
remaining in the Casa Grande. Father Kino reported it as burned out
prior to his 1694 visit.

Though four stories high, only the upper three stories of the Casa
Grande were used. The five ground-story rooms were filled with earth to
form a platform foundation, and a ladder was used to gain access to the
second story through the doorway seen here.

To the right of the doorway and about shoulder high are a line of holes
in the wall. These show where a roof, probably for shade, was socketed
into the wall.

6. West Side.

Notice the series of horizontal cracks along the west wall of the Casa
Grande. The cracks show that the walls were built with layers of caliche
mud. Each layer was about 26 inches thick. Bricks were not used. The
Indians did not make adobe bricks until taught by the Spanish priests
centuries later.

Above the enlarged open doorway is a blocked one. The upper doorway was
sealed by the Indians, but they left a small opening for ventilation at
the bottom of the block. The large hole above the blocked doorway is
where the original wooden lintel poles rotted away, causing part of the
wall to fall.

Both to left and right of the blocked doorway are small windows in the
north and south rooms. The left window is round and the right window is

In the 1880’s, Ed Schieffelin, the founder of Tombstone, Arizona, took
this photograph of the Casa Grande. The structure has deteriorated
little since then.

7. South Side.

Here are two more blocked doorways that originally led into the west
second and third-story rooms. Doorways made by these Indians are smaller
than modern entryways, but this does not mean that the people were
small. During bad weather these openings could have been closed off with
mats and skins, and the smaller the doorway, the easier it was to block.
Moreover, it let in less cold air.

    [Illustration: _West Side of the Casa Grande_]

The round holes in a line between the doorways were beam sockets. Poles
of pinyon pine and/or juniper formed the ceilings and spanned the width
of the room.

    [Illustration: _Cross-section Drawing of a Roof._]

The interior plaster of the west wall was made from caliche, ground fine
in a stone mortar and with the gravel sifted out. This plaster is more
than 650 years old.

Names cut into the plaster date from the last half of the last century,
and were cut into the plaster before the ruin was protected by the
Federal government. Because of these names, and the fact that the
interior of the Casa Grande may easily be vandalized, visitors are
permitted to enter the ruin only on ranger-conducted guided tours.

8. Southeast Corner.

The walls of the Casa Grande are heavy and massive, ranging in thickness
from 4½ to 1¾ feet. To save work and to reduce weight on the foundation,
the Indians narrowed the walls as they built them up. The outside
surface bows inward as the wall rises. The inside surface, however, is
nearly vertical. (_See_ photo).

    [Illustration: _Southeast Corner of the Casa Grande_]

9. Buried Walls.

If you look closely at the surface of the ground you can see the tops of
the walls of some rooms. These rooms are unexcavated. Probably the floor
of this room is less than one foot below ground surface, and only the
foundations of the walls remain.

10. Southwest Building.

The high walls shown at top of the next page are all that remain of a
three-story building that stood in this southwest corner of the walled
village. These rooms apparently were living rooms where several families
slept, worked, and stored their food, tools, and clothing. One of the
large red Hohokam jars in the Visitor Center exhibit room was recovered
near here.

11. Outer Wall.

This is another part of the village wall. To save labor, the west side
of the three-story building was built against the wall. During the
winter of 1906-07, Dr. J. W. Fewkes conducted excavations in this ruin
for the Smithsonian Institution. He found debris along the outside of
the wall indicating that it once stood 7 to 11 feet high. (Bottom,

    [Illustration: _Southwest Building_]

    [Illustration: _Outer Wall_]


From this vantage point you can view the whole compound. The walls
enclosed an area of 2⅛ acres. Most of the dwellings in the village were
one story high.

In 1951, Paul Coze, an Arizona artist, painted a restoration of the
Ruin. This painting, on page 10, may help you visualize what the village
looked like 650 years ago. The high standing walls to your left are
remains of the tall building in the lower left-hand corner of the

The prehistoric Indian canal used to irrigate farmlands in this area lay
north of the Monument but curved to the south and passed near the farm
shed visible one-half mile to the west. The high bank to the south and
west is the line of the modern canal. The Indians cultivated the land to
the west beyond the modern canal, walking from one-half to one mile to
reach their fields.

13. Southeast Quarter.

The vacant area to your right once had houses on it, but they were of
rather flimsy upright-pole-and-mud construction and little remains of
them but floors and wall post holes. The open places in the village were
used for children’s play, work areas, outdoor cooking, and other

14. The Casa Grande.

Again we come back to the Casa Grande. This is a unique structure in
this region and its major purpose or function is not known. It does not
have the appearance of a normal dwelling. Theories that the structure
might have been a fort-like watchtower fail to explain what people the
Casa Grande folk might have been watching. (There is no real evidence of
warfare or strife.) Recent investigations have suggested that certain
openings in the upper walls may have been utilized for astronomical
observations, but whether the entire structure was built for this
purpose is mere speculation.

                       Take nothing but pictures—
                      Leave nothing but footprints

15. Font’s Room.

This building stood two stories high. Socket holes for the first-story
ceiling can still be seen on the east side of the high wall. The room is
called Font’s Room for Father Font, a Spanish Franciscan priest who
visited here in 1775.

    [Illustration: _Paul Coze Painting. Restoration of the Casa Grande_]

    [Illustration: _The Casa Grande_]

    [Illustration: _Font’s Room_]

16. The Trash Mound.

Look over the village wall and to the east, between the residences and
the Visitor Center. About 150 feet away is the low mound that was one of
the trash dumps for this village. This is where the Hohokam for over a
century threw their broken pottery, tools, shell jewelry, garbage, and
other refuse. From this mound came much of our information about the
material remains of these ancient people. In order to protect
archeological values, visitors are not allowed on the mound.

17. Shell Pendants.

The turquoise and shell mosaic emblems in the Visitor Center jewelry
exhibit were found in 1926 in the west end of this room during
excavations to stabilize the walls. They are exceptionally fine examples
of prehistoric mosaic handicraft. (_See_ photo on back cover).


To return to the Visitor Center take the path to the right.

We hope you have enjoyed your trip along the Casa Grande trail. The
National Park Service rangers are here to assist you in any way they can
and will do their best to answer your questions.


America’s growing need for outdoor recreation areas was recognized by
Congress with the passage of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of
1965. This law authorizes entrance and users’ fees at Federal Recreation
Areas and dedicates the money from those fees, plus revenue from the
sale of surplus Federal real estate and the Federal tax on fuel used in
pleasure boats, to the purchase and development of public recreation
lands and waters.

Roughly 40 percent of your entrance fee goes to buy additional Federal
Recreation Areas—a share in the California Redwoods, a bit of Fire
Island, a view from Spruce Knob, a safe haven for the vanishing whooping
crane, or the purchase of Hubbell Trading Post in northeastern Arizona.
The other 60 percent goes to the states and through them to towns and
counties to buy and develop “near to home” recreation areas such as
Picacho State Park, Arizona. These grants are matched with an equal
amount from state and local sources.

The $10 annual permit which is valid for some 7,000 Federal areas
administered by the National Park Service, Forest Service, Bureau of
Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of
Reclamation, Tennessee Valley Authority and Corps of Engineers may be
purchased at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. For additional
information about the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 ask a

This booklet is published in cooperation with the National Park Service
                                 by the
               Southwest Parks and Monuments Association

A non-profit publishing and distributing organization supporting
historical, scientific and educational activities of the National Park

5th Ed. 1-73-20M

    [Illustration: Turquoise and shell mosaic emblems]

                          Transcriber’s Notes

—Silently corrected a few typos.

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

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