Coolidge is the home of the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. This was the first prehistoric cultural site to be protected by the United States government when President Benjamin Harrison signed the Executive Order proclamation on June 22, 1892. And what a treasure it is.
The four-story building was built by the Hohokam Indians who had settled along the Gila and Salt rivers by about 300 and began irrigating the area. Their Classic Period began in the 1100s when they began developing large communities like this one. The Casa Grande (“Great House”) was completed in about 1350 and abandoned in about 1450.
The first modern report of the ruins came from missionary Father Eusebio Kino in November 1694. He’s the one who called it Casa Grande. A steel roof structure was placed over it in 1932 to help protect it from the elements. This is an absolute must-see in Arizona.
The Town of Coolidge came later. It was founded in 1925 during the planning for the construction of the Coolidge Dam, which was completed in 1930 and named for President Calvin Coolidge. The new source of water made this a very productive agricultural area. The City incorporated in 1945 and is now rapidly becoming a dynamic manufacturing center, as well.
Home to Central Arizona College, it has also become a creative center. Plan to take some time to visit the Pinal Geology & Mineral Museum. The displays are truly fascinating. And explore the Artisan Village of Coolidge, the Copper State Heritage Museum, the Glass Studio and the Artisan Village Art Gallery. You’ll be very glad you did.
Photo by Tracy Fultz/Blushing Cactus Photography
- Casa Grande National Monument
- Pinal Geology & Mineral Museum
- Artisan Village of Coolidge
- Copper State Heritage Museum
- Glass Studio
- Artisan Village Art Gallery