Friday, January 16, 2009

Casa Grande

Officially we had 78 here today at 4 PM. Not a cloud in the sky and winds were almost calm. The car dash thermometer said 81, as we were returning from Casa Grande Ruins.


It was later in the afternoon and the sun was off in the West and being January, it was low, making shadows long.


This is the ruin of Casa Grande, or large house in English. It was built by Indian natives in approximately 1300 CE. The protective roof over the Adobe structure was first built in 1903 but was rebuilt in 1932. The original house, built by the Hohokam Indians, is the largest of many houses that have been excavated and stabilized in this area.

This site contains many ruins, and most were just shells of foundations that formed pit houses.


The large house is the main attraction, and I took pictures from all sides.

This is really larger than it looks, note Loyce walking along the lower right hand corner.

This is the back side from the museum, and the West side where the sun was setting. This wall is mostly still intact.


And the North side in the shade of afternoon.


The Hohokam, meaning those who are gone, in their direct Indian descendants language, were irrigation canal folks that dug long channels to transport the Gila River’s water for many miles to irrigate their crops.


This picture from the South shows the size of the structure that protects the ruins.



I’m not sure that these are readable, but it is thought that floods up river wiped out the access points where the canals connected to the river around 1400. Then a few short years later they had drought. The Hohokam’s never recovered.

The Jesuit missionary, Father Eusebio Kino was the first European to visit the ruins in 1694. He gave them the name of Casa Grande. The site became a famous landmark in the desert, but that also was a problem, as visitors removed artifacts, and even pieces of the buildings themselves. Also people scratched names and initials into the ancient walls, defacing the historic site.

Congress took action to protect the ruins in 1889 by providing funds to repair the badly eroded walls and foundations. Bracing, wooden beams and metal rods were added to stabilize the structure. In 1892 the site was designated as a federal preserve and a custodian was engaged to safeguard the ruins.

A few miles West of this site, there is now a modern town named Casa Grande, that is the intersection of I-10 and I-8. From that intersection, you select whether you are going to Los Angeles or San Diego.

This is an interesting tour, if you are only a little bit interested in archeology.

Retired Rod

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