Roadtrip – Casa Grande Ruins National Monument – Coolidge, Arizona

Our Latino Heritage road trip continued towards the Southwest to Coolidge, Arizona.  We had the opportunity to obtain a guided  tour of the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument with the National Park Service Superintendent, Karl Cordova.  His staff is  dedicated to conserving, preserving, and providing an atmosphere for recreation at the Casa Grande Ruins.  They also reach out to the local community and visit local schools.

The Casa Grande Monument is one of the largest prehistoric structures ever built in North America. It is the first prehistoric and cultural site in the United States.   The four story structure was built around 1300 and is located about an hour drive from Phoenix, AZ and Tuscon, AZ.  The protected area spans about 472.5 acres.  It’s purpose remains a mystery.


The area is also home to the largest cactus in the United States, the Saguaro cactus.  A mature Saguaro cactus is about 40-50 feet tall, 125 years old and weighs about 6 tons.   I felt so small next to the Saguaro cactus.  The cactus was a source of food and the wood was used to create tools.

As I walked towards the structure it’s very hard to imagine that a structure made out of sand, calcium carbonate & clay is still standing after over 650 years.  We learned that the area also didn’t have any water which must have made it a challenge to obtain and transport water during the period.  The ancient Sonoran people did all their building without the basic tools similar to what we use today.  Their basic tools were their hands, a digging stick and a planting stick.  It’s amazing how much they accomplished.  It’s obvious that the Sonoran desert people were very resourceful and innovative.

In speaking with the Superindendent, he advised that Archeologists discovered evidence that the ancient Sonoran Desert people who built the Casa Grande also developed wide-scale irrigation farming and extensive trade connections which lasted over a thousand years until about 1450 C.E.

The next time you’re near Tucson or Phoenix, Arizona consider going to the Casa Grande and explore the history.   It will be an educational opportunity for the entire family.   To discover our shared heritage at National Park Services find out what is happening in your local community or order a map of National Park Museums in the Southwest and other regions at and plan your next roadtrip.


The #LatinoHeritage roadtrip celebrates the contributions of American Latinos throughout the national park and historic places across the country.  For additional information regarding the Casa Grande Ruins, please visit  For additional information regarding the American Latino Heritage programs,  check and Support the American Latino Heritage Fund.  For live tweets, please follow the conversation on Twitter by checking the #LatinoHeritage hashtag on Twitter.

Disclosure: The Latino Heritage roadtrip was partially funded by American Latino Fund, Verizon Wireless & General Motors.  The vehicle driven during the roadtrip was provided by General Motors.  All opinions and content rights are my own.

Question:  Did you know that the National Park Service is honored to connect with people in local communities?   Have you visited any local National Parks are near your community?  What is your favorite local National Park to visit?

Eva Smith

Publisher at Tech Life Magazine
Eva is an award winning entrepreneur and Publisher of Tech Life Magazine. She has been recognized by Ford Motor Company as a Mujer Legendaria Inteligente (Smart Entrepreneur), USA Today Magazine as a Top Blogger to Watch and Latina Magazine as a Top 25 Latinas Who Shine in Technology. Her work has also been featured on Mashable,, Babble, Baby Center,, USA Today, Latina Magazine, Huffington Post, National Parks Services, Voxxi, NBC Latino, Rolling Stone Magazine & more.She is technologist, engineer, bilingual freelance writer, speaker and digital media consultant.


  1. Amazing! I love hearing about old civilizations- we always thonk we are such pioneers, it’s the earlier cultures that did it best.

  2. Hey! I’ve been there. It is so hard to believe those structures are so old isn’t it?

  3. What an amazing opportunity! The pictures look amazing.

  4. What a great stop! It’s so nice being able to talk to locals and getting their take on the land.

  5. Beautiful photography! Me dieron ganas de viajar!!

  6. I really need to start visiting National Parks. I’ve never been to one.

  7. Wow the history this place holds is amazing! I love hearing about places like this. Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. How absolutely gorgeous! I’m an East Coast girl who’s traveled more out of the country than in it. Stories like this and photos, make me want to take more time to visit this beautiful land of ours. Thanks for sharing!

  9. What a lovely spot! We’ve been to a few national parks and have enjoyed the time learning and experiencing nature

  10. I didn’t even know those existed. And boy do I need a road trip! Love the little dress you’re wearing in the photo!

  11. What a cool summer vacation you’ve put together! I wish I had your posts when I was driving through AZ

  12. I did not even know that Casa Grande exists! I followed your tweets and now reading this post makes me want to thank you for making me think about the National Parks as a destination and also our Latino Heritage going back centuries.

  13. 1300?? wow. how long ago. It’s so wonderful to get modern information on historic artifacts. All of this is new to me. I’ve heard of Casa Grande, but not the details about the cactus, etc.. All so interesting. It’s nice to know we have some history considering we’re so young as a country.


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