Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Casa Grande Ruins

Today we saw the Casa Grande Ruins. This is a National Monument located in Coolidge, AZ. This is located across the valley from Casa Grande and is surrounded, like so much of this beautiful Sonora Desert, by majestic mountains. The remains of this Great House, Casa Grande, are four stories tall and sisxy feet long. It was constructed in about 1350AD and has weathered time and weather since then very well. In the 1930s, the United States government erected a metal shield to cover the remains to protect if from the sun. Caliche (cuh-LEE-chee), is the concrete-like substance that was made from a combination of sand, clay and limestone. It took 2,000 tons to build the Great House. The caliche mud was piled in successive courses to form walls four feet thick at the base, tapering toward the top. Hundreds of juniper, pine and fir trees were carried or floated 60 miles down the Gila River to the village to form ceiling and floor supports. They were anchored in the walls. Surrounding the Great House were many foundations for single family units that were joined together like in one story apartment buildings. On the way to and from the ruins, we saw some more beautiful mountains surrounding the valley we are in. One had clouds and snow gathering around the mountaintop. We went on into the village of Florence and saw an old courthouse that in 1888, a "Vigilance Committee" stormed the sheriff's office in this building, dragged two men from their cells and hanged them in the corridor of the jail. A short time later, the same group attempted to lynch four other prisoners but this attempt was thwarted by the jailer armed the prisoners, took them upstairs and faced down the mob from the windows above the street. Interesting fellers around here, eh?

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