Visitor Center Rennovations
Park is having major electrical and heating/cooling system work done. The Visitor Center will be closed until late June but restrooms, movie auditorium, historic ruins area, and picnic area will remain open (no fees or pass sales during rennovation).
Your Dollars at Work
Visitor Center Addition: Auditorium/Movie Theater
June 2012 was the grand opening of a new auditorium - multipurpose room added to the visitor center building. Using funds collected at the park, not appropriated by Congress, this change to the park couldn't have occured without entrance fees collected at the park.
Improvements to National Park areas for the 50th anniversary of the system in 1966, called Mission 66, had an effect on Casa Grande Ruins. The park visitor center was completed, at last, and other support buildings were rennovated or constructed. Mission 66 proved to be the last major construction program to affect the park. After 1966, maintenance for the existing facilities became the norm although some minor construction activity did take place. This addition to the park visitor center was a big and unusual project.
Award Winning Park Film
For many years the park showed a cobbled together movie about archeology in the area. Now, after consulting and interviewing descendeats of the ancestral Sonoran Desert people, as well as archeologists and historians, the park film talks about the Great House and its meaning. Ideas about life in the area around 1350 CE to 1450 CE and theories as to why the ancestral people left the site are explored. Actors show viewers how much work went into the extensive canal system and how the ancestral people lived, worked, and created the beautiful pottery and jewelry we associate with the Hohokam culture.
At the 46th Annual Worldfest Houston International Film Festival (2013) the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument film Casa Grande: House of Many Stories won a Platinum Remi Award (first place) for it's category-- Cultural. WorldFest-Houston is one of the three original international film festivals in North America, after San Francisco and New York. It was founded in 1961 as Cinema Arts, an International Film Society. WorldFest/Cinema Arts became a competitive International Film Festival in 1967.It is the only international film festival in North America to be dedicated completely to independent films, as it does not accept films from the major studios.
Did You Know?
Father Kino, in 1694, was the first European to call this structure Casa Grande. It is a Spanish word that means 'great house.' The Casa Grande is a 4-story, 11-room structure which was built about 700 years ago.