Coolidge, Arizona: Casa Grande Ruins
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
WPA busy project -- a big metal roof protects a four-story, crumbling ancient Indian dwelling. The mud structure's original purpose remains a mystery -- and it's been much more successful as a tourist attraction. Roadsideamerica.com Report...
Visitor Tips and News About Casa Grande Ruins
I have to heartily disagree with Roadside America's report on Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. I have been to the site twice, and it is a beautiful, inspiring place. Preservationists disagree about whether the 1936 WPA pavilion diminishes the structure's historic context, but it inarguably did its job (the structure is still there), and is in no way a boondoggle, as the article implies ($38,000 is a tiny drop in the bucket in terms of federal spending, and a modern $38,000 is in no way comparable to $28,000 in 1936 due to inflation, as any Econ 101 student could tell you). Furthermore, the assumption that an old structure must be something of great significance (a palace, a temple, and so on) to be preserved is flawed; even if the structure really is just an old granary, that does not mean that it cannot have aesthetic or educational value, especially since the vast majority of Southwestern Native American buildings from that era are now long gone. If you read the Park Service's extensive report on the structure's history at http://www.nps.gov/cagr/adhi/adhit.htm, you'll discover that a granary is only one of many interpretations of its purpose; others are possible, but only if the original structure is preserved, which is the whole purpose of the 1936 WPA construction. Lastly, the idea that the local Native Americans do not think highly of the structure might come as a surprise to the rangers that were working there the last two times I visited the site, who happened to be Native Americans themselves.[Tony Porco, 08/23/2004]
Today's aesthetically pleasing White Castle Hamburger stand could be tomorrow's Casa Grande -- we can only hope.