Around an hour north of Tucson, near the town of Coolidge, Arizona, a giant steel roof on pillars rises above the surrounding desert. Underneath, the ruins of a 4 story building form the basis of Casa Grande National Monument.
The structure, and an area surrounding it, are the remains of the largest building known to have been made by the Hohokam culture, which is estimated to have been completed around 1350 AD. First recorded, already as ruins, by non-natives in 1694 by Spanish missionaries and designated as the country’s first archeology reserve in 1892, the site appears to have been one of several settlements in a larger village along irrigation canals, and was abandoned at some point in the 1400’s. The roof structure built in 1932 serves to protect it from slowly washing away in desert rainstorms.
Although not overly scenic as it is surrounded by a flat expanse of desert, the site is well worth a visit to gain a feel for the mysterious Hohokam culture, which seems to have vanished around the time the ruins were abandoned.