Disrespected, Then Protected

historic black and white image of the Casa Grande around 1900
The Great  House near 1900, some preservation work done but no roof yet.


In the 1700s and early 1800s, only a trickle of travelers came by the Casa Grande. First Spanish explorers, and then Mexican and American travelers wondered who built this ruin and why. More people visited after 1879 when the railroad first reached the town of Casa Grande 19 miles away. Travelers scratched their names into the walls. Some took away artifacts, even pieces of the walls, as souvenirs.

In 1889 Congress voted to protect Casa Grande Ruins from further vandalism and looting. They voted to pay for clearing away debris and repairing the eroded foundations. The wooden beams and metal rods you see today were installed in 1891 to brace up some of the walls. Three years later, the federal government made Casa Grande the nation's first archeological preserve.

Who named the Casa Grande?
A Jesuit missionary, explorer, and mapmaker, Eusebio Francisco Kino (1645–1711), was the first known European to document these ruins—in 1694. Father Kino called the building 'Casa Grande,' Spanish for 'great house.'


A PDF of the wayside (29,861 KB) is available.


Last updated: March 18, 2024

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Mailing Address:

1100 W. Ruins Drive
Coolidge, AZ 85128


520 723-3172
General park contact number includes a phone tree for finding the employee you wish to contact. Callers may dial zero for the phone attendant. Voicemail is available for many of the extensions.

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