• The Great House at Casa Grande Ruins stands out for miles

    Casa Grande Ruins

    National Monument Arizona

Preservation

Learning From Past Missteps

How best to preserve the ruins has been a debate since the ruins were first visited. The actions of the Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition financed by Mary Hemenway from 1887 to1888 led to some of the strongest protections. When members of the expedition visited the Casa Grande, their report on the extensive vandalism they found there prompted Mrs. Hemenway to mount an effort to save the ruins. The result was the establishment of Casa Grande Ruins as the first federal prehistoric and cultural reservation by President Benjamin Harrison in 1892.

 
Test Walls of Caliche stand near the park maintenance area. Not ruins by the Ancestral Peoples these small clumps are created by archeologists.

Non historic test walls in various stages of decay.

NPS

Experimenting with New Possibilities

Trying to find the right mix of old and new for coating the historic walls has been a never ending test. Current efforts use a slurry of caliche soil and a small amount of additive.

 
YCC student in safety vest doing patching work by flinging mud onto ruins walls with a hand broom.

Youth Conservation Corps students and volunteers 'sling mud' to encapsulate the ruins.

NPS

Current Work Being Done

Every two years it becomes critical to apply a new layer of protection to the ruins. Under the supervision of an archeologist volunteers and staff apply a thin layer of protective coating. Care to volunteer and join us one summer?

Did You Know?

A burrowing owl guarding its burrow at Casa Grande Ruins.

Burrowing owls are unique among birds because they nest underground in existing ground squirrel, coyote, and badger burrows. They are also commonly associated with humans and will frequently nest in burrows along irrigation ditches, canals, and even in people’s yards.