Casa Grande Ruins National Monument is located in Coolidge Arizona a bit north of the current city of Casa Grand and it preserves parts of structures that were likely built by the Ancestral Sonoran Desert People during the classical period around 1150-1450 CE.
It is one of the largest prehistoric structures built in North America. Its main purpose is still a bit of a mystery. It may have been used as an administrative office to oversee the canal systems established by the Ancestral Sonoran Desert People.
Archeologists have learned that the people who built it also developed a widespread canal system to support their extensive farming and trade connections that lasted for more than a 1,000 years until the structures for some reason were abandoned 1450CE.
Archaeologists use the term “Hohokam” but that is not the accepted name of the people who lived there. Years of misunderstanding have confused the ancestors of the O’Odham, Hopi, and Zuni people with the name Hohokam, which is not a word in any of their languages nor the name of a separate people.
The ancestral Sonoran Desert people who built it did not leave a written language behind. As a result written accounts begin with the Spanish explorer Padre Eusebio Francisco Kino who visited the ruins in 1694. He was the one who first called the ruins “casa grande” (or “great house”). More became known with later Spanish expeditions to the area, as they were very impressed with the ancient civilization that was revealed by the remnants. During the 1860s and following more people started to visit the region and then vandalism began in earnest. After that Americans took more serious steps to preserve the ruins for future benefit. The roof was built by modern Americans to protect the main structure that remains.
These ancient people and their civilization deserve our respect, even though they did not always receive it.