The History of Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
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At the request of friends in Boston Captain John G. Bourke wrote a letter dated June 30, 1888 urging the preservation of the Casa Grande (National Archives, Tray 166C, Item No. 1601).

In February 1889 Senator George F. Hoar of Massachusetts laid before the United States Senate a petition from Oliver Ames, governor of Massachusetts; William E. Barrett, speaker of the state's house of representatives; Mrs. Mary Hemenway; William Claffin; Francis Parkman; Dr. Edward Everett Hale; Oliver Wendell Holmes; John Fiske; William T. Harris; and John G. Whittier. The petition called the attention of Congress "to the ancient and celebrated ruin of Casa Grande, an ancient temple of the prehistoric age, of the greatest ethnologic and scientific interest, situated in Pinal county, near Florence, Arizona"; and prayed "that the Government will take further measures to have the ruin protected from injury by visitors or by landowners in the neighborhood" (Congressional Record, Vol. XX, pt. 2, p. 1454; as quoted in the 15th Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, p. CIII).

Appended to the sundry civil appropriations act, approved March 2, 1889, in which certain expenses of the U. S. Geological Survey were provided for, was the following item:

"Repair of the ruin of Casa Grande, Arizona: To enable the Secretary of the Interior to repair and protect the ruin of Casa Grande, situated in Pinal County, near Florence, Arizona, two thousand dollars; and the President is authorized to reserve from settlement and sale the land on which said ruin is situated and so much of the public land adjacent thereto as in his judgment may be necessary for the protection of said ruin and of the ancient city of which it is a part" (Mindeleff 1897:326).

On April 12, 1889 the Secretary of the Interior and the Commissioner of the General Land Office conferred on the execution of the above law; Special Agent A. L. Morrison, of the G.L.O., was sent to the Casa Grande to investigate methods which should be adopted for its repair and protection. His report, submitted May 15, was considered impractical. The Secretary handed the problem to the Director of the Geological Survey; Victor Mindeleff of the Bureau of Ethnology submitted a report on the ruin in July 1890; a few months later Victor Mindeleff severed his connections with the Bureau. However, his brother Cosmos Mindeleff proceeded to the Casa Grande in December, 1890 and the authorized repair was completed the following year (Mindeleff 1897:327).

The final step in the execution of the law quoted above was taken June 22, 1892, by the following recommendation and indorsement.

Department of the Interior
Washington, June 20, 1892.

Sir: I have the honor to recommend that the SW. 1/4 SW. 1/4, SE. 1/4 SW. 1/4, SW. 1/4 SE 1/4 section 9, NW. 1/4, NW. 1/4 NE. 1/4, SW 1/4 NE. 1/4, NW. 1/4 SW. 1/4, NE. 1/4 SW. 1/4, and NW. 1/4 SE. 1/4 section 16, all in township 5 range 8 east, Gila and Salt River meridian, Arizona, containing 480 acres more or less, and including the Casa Grande ruin, be reserved in accordance with the authority vested in you by the act of March 2,1889 (25 Stat., 961), for the protection of the ruin.

The Director of the Bureau of Ethnology requests that the reservation be made, and the Acting Commissioner of the General Land Office knows of no objection to such action.

Very respectfully,     
John W. Noble     

[Indorsement by the President]     
Executive Mansion
June 22, 1892

Let the lands described within be reserved for the protection of the Casa Grande ruin as recommended by the Secretary of the Interior.

Benj. Harrison

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Last Updated: 02-Nov-2009