Coined after famous ancient pueblos, Casa Grande, AZ lies at 1,398 feet above sea level in-between Tucson and Phoenix.  As of the Census Bureau in 2015, the city has 51,460 inhabitants, up and estimated 5.9% from 2010.


History

The history of what is now days called Casa Grande dates back many hundreds of years ago to when the Hohokam people roamed the land. The Hohokam were known for the extensive networks of canals that they built across the southwest region of the United States. These people are also best known for the caliche structure they left about 45 miles NE of the Casa Grande. This structure was turned into a national monument called the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument and is where the City of Casa Grande adopted its name from.

Fast forward a few hundred years to the mid-1800’s, when the Southern Pacific Railroad was authorized to build a rail system that extended from Marshall, Texas to San Diego, California. During construction, the heat became so oppressive that the workers had to stop on May 19, 1879. Also during this year, a mining boom broke out and attracted people to come and stay in Casa Grande.

Southern Pacific Engine Car similar to one that would go through Casa Grande.

This is what a train going through Casa Grande in the 1800’s would have looked like.

Casa Grande Train Station

Casa Grande Train Station that burned down in 2009

The town had its fair share of trials and tribulations as any other town has had, including a fire that destroyed all the wooden structures within the town. Around the turn of the century, the mining industry began to dwindle, and luckily enough for Casa Grande, agriculture in the area boomed and kept the town alive. In 1915, the town was incorporated.

Laborers working on farm in Casa Grande, Arizona

Laborers working on farm.

The town continued to be a farming society until the middle of World War II. At this time, a relocation camp, known as the Gila River Relocation Center, was set up. One of the people relocated to this area was Kenichi Zenimura, a baseball player. He constructed a baseball field in the area and started a baseball league in the camp.

Monument honoring the Japanese relocatees at the Gila River Relocation Center.

Monument honoring the Japanese relocatees at the Gila River Relocation Center.

Overview of Gila River Relocation Center

Overview or relocation camp

Gila River Relocation Center Marching Drills

Relocatees performing a marching drill.

Work camp at Gila River Relocation Center

Work camp at Gila River Relocation Center

Horace Stoneham, the San Francisco Giants owner, developed the Franciso Grande Hotel and Golf Resort. This location would be used as the location for the San Francisco Giants spring training. The pool at this resort is in the shape of a baseball and baseball bat to commemorate the Giants. In 1961, the first exhibition game was played here. In this game, Wille Mays hit a 357-foot home run. Although this location is no longer used for spring training, it is still a popular destination. It offers luxurious accommodations and outstanding golf to its visitors.


Demographics

Females makeup slightly more than half the population at 51.5%. It is 67.3% white. American Indians and African-Americans each makeup 4.6% of the population. Asians makeup 1.8% of the population while other races are at 19.4%.

In total, there are 18,141 households in Casa Grande. 76.4% of those households are comprised of families. The average household size is 2.74.

The majority of homes are occupied by owners at 67.5%. The remaining 32.5% of household stock is renter occupied. Average rent in Casa Grande is $849.

Most residents of Casa Grande live in city limits. Only 3% of the population lives in a rural setting. The city consists of 109.67 square miles of land at an elevation of 1,398 feet. It has a population density of 442.8 people per each square mile.

In Casa Grande, the area code is 520 and there are three zip codes: 85122, 85130, and 85193. It is in the mountain standard time zone (MST). The median age of its residents is 39.3 years.

The population of Casa Grande has steadily grown throughout the years. In 1880, the population was 33. It wasn’t until the 1930s that the population reached more than one thousand. In the 1950 census, the population was a little over 4000. That number doubled in 10 years to 8,311 and then to steadily grown throughout the years. By 2000 the population had grown to 25,224. Over the next 10 years, there was another large increase in the population. As of the 2010 census, there were more than 48,000 residents in this city.


Weather

The climate of Casa Grande is dry desert, like most of the State of Arizona. Each year, an average of ten inches of rain fall. The majority of this precipitation comes during monsoon season when storms blow north from the Sea of Cortez. Temperatures can reach as high as 116 degrees Fahrenheit in July. The coldest temperatures are reached in January. It sometimes is 38 degrees Fahrenheit during cold January nights.  On average, Casa Grande has 295 sunny days which is 90 more than the US average.

Moonsoon clouds in Casa Grande, Arizona

Casa Grande Monsoon

Casa Grande is famous for its beautiful sunsets.

Sunset In Casa Grande, AZ

Sunset In Casa Grande, AZ


Economy

In the past, the economy of Casa Grande was fueled by farming. Dairy and cotton were important in the early years of the city. However, most residents of the city now live in Casa Grande but commute to work in either Phoenix or Tucson. Because of this, most local business growth has been in the service area.

The average household’s income has risen substantially in the past several years. In 2000, that average household income was $32,212 but at the 2010 Census, it had risen to $44,707. However, average household income levels in Casa Grande are still lower than the Arizona average of $48,510. The average per capita income is $22,396 currently which has risen from the average per capita income of $15,917 in 2000.

The largest employers in Casa Grande are its school district and the Medical Center followed by Walmart, Bezel Corporation, Frito-Lay, the City of Casa Grande, and Abbot Laboratories.


Real Estate

The median sales price is $146,250, median price per square foot is $83, and the median rent per month is $1,100. 73% of residents own vs. rent. Real estate prices were skyrocketing in 2007 and 2008 as there were rumors that Casa Grande would eventually connect to Phoenix, AZ. After 2008, real estate prices have declined. Casa Grande’s real estate market experienced a two percent decline this year.


Schools

The public schooling system in Casa Grande is broken into three different schools: elementary school for kindergarten to fifth grade, middle school for sixth to eighth grade, and high school for ninth to twelfth grade. There are nine public elementary schools, three public middle schools, three public high schools. Where one lives within Casa Grande dictates which schools one’s children attend. There are also two private schools and two colleges in Casa Grande.


Parks

Due to the undeveloped part of the state that Casa Grande lies, land is cheap so intern there are many parks and trails. In 2005, the City Council conducted a survey of all of the trails in and around Casa Grande and made a master map. http://www.casagrandeaz.gov/rec/parks/trails-master-plan/

There are seven Reservable Parks in the city:

  • Carr McNatt Park
  • Ed Hooper Rodeo Park
  • Dave White Regional Park
  • North Mountain Park
  • O’Niel Park
  • Peart Park
  • Villago Community Park

Airport

Located north of the city at 3225 N Lear Ave is the Casa Grande Municipal Airport. The airport has one runway which is 100 feet wide and 5,200 long, land for hangers to be built, and a terminal with offices, bathrooms, showers and a pilot briefing room. There are now landing towers, easy access to airport, plenty of ramp space, close to casinos/shopping, and no landing fees.

Birds eye view of Casa Grande Municipal Airport

Birds eye view of Casa Grande Municipal Airport


Medical Service Locations

Casa Grande has three urgent care locations and one hospital. The hospital is Banner Casa Grande Medical Center. Services at the hospital include: anticoagulation, behavior health and mental health, diabetes, emergency, endoscopy, gastroenterology, heart, imaging, intensive care, maternity, sleep medicine, sports medicine, surgery and transplants.


Prominent People

Prominent people from Casa Grande include:

David Spade – Unfortunately, after Chris Farley’s unexpected death due to a drug overdose, his career path took a turn. They were a comedic duo during the 90’s that would have likely continued to do many more movies together. There were others that were part of the gang, but those two were the ones that had the on screen chemistry.

Fred Enke – was known for basketball at the University of Arizona, and he as also a golf and football       coach.

Pablo Francisco – was a famous comedian.

Eduardo C. Corral – is a notable teacher from the area, and he is also known for being an award winning poet.

Eduardo C. Guerrero – is a famous photographer from the area is.

Alex Torres – is a well-respected guitarist.

Michael Sullivan –  is remembered for his masonry work throughout Casa Grande.


Things To Do In Casa Grande

The Domes Of Casa Grande –  This is very different from the Casa Grande ruins National Monument with the Anastasi dwellings. These are contemporary, retro-futuristic structures  There are also those that are caterpillar-like in shape, and the origins of these structures is not really well-known. There are rumors that witchcraft or devil worshipers would occupy them, whereas others believe that it is haunted.

Skydiving – Due to its location on highway 10 in between Phoenix and Tucson, skydiving in this area provides amazing views of the surrounding cities and countries. You will be able to see the Sonoran Desert National Monument, the Tonto National Forest to the Northeast, and many other sites in all directions. It is a great way to really appreciate how the expense of the desert is, and get a bird’s eye view of the surrounding forest and wildlife refuges that can be found throughout this area. It is recommended that you go early in the morning due to how hot it tends to be, especially during the summer months. It’s the perfect excursion for both adults and children alike, something that everybody can do for fun.

Six people skydiving in Casa Grande, Arizona

Sky Diving In Casa Grande

Big House Ruins – Thousands of years ago, there were farmers that lived in what is now known as Casa Grande. There are many ruins in the area that show evidence of this. One such structure is the Big House. This is one of the largest prehistoric buildings ever erected in the United States. If you are a major history buff, this should be right up your alley.

Entrance Sign to Casa Grandes National Monument

Entrance Sign

Outside of Casa Grande National Monument Ruins

Out side of ruins.

 Door way in the the Casa Grande National Monument Ruins

Door way in the ruins

Inside the Casa Grande National Monument

Inside The Ruins

Hohokam Pima National Monument – If you plan to visit this site, keep in mind that you will need to call ahead. Unlike many other landmarks in the area, this place does not allow people to casually stroll in. This is probably because there are no brochures, features, displays, signs or anything that make this a place that people would flock too. It is also on Native American land, which means that it is not generally open for the public to views as they wish.

The Visitor Center – In many cities, the visitors center is simply a place to stop in to get directions and use the restroom. This is not the case in Casa Grande. This place actually requires a fee to gain admission since there are displays all over the place and it is considered to be a museum. While you can still think of it as a place to get information about the area and grab a few souvenirs, it definitely serves a greater purpose than that.

Picacho Peak – This state park is 20 minutes south of Casa Grande but has fantastic hiking. The peak is 1,500 feet and is filled with winding desert trails. Aninimities include: tent and camp site rentals, tourist shop, restrooms and showers, charcoal grills, waste disposal area, shaded areas, picnic tables, and of course trails.

Picacho Peak an Arizona State Park

View of Picacho Peak in the morning.