Near Sky Harbor Airport, in the shadow of Phoenix downtown skyscrapers is a 20-foot (6 meter) mound that contains the ruins of a large Hohokam Indian village. The village was continuously occupied for over a thousand years and was abandoned in the mid 15th century. Built nearby is a museum that features displays about the life and times of the Hohokam.
After a short but informative tour of the museum displays, visitors are invited outside to walk the trail that winds through the site. On hot days, bring plenty of water and apply sun screen liberally. There are benches and some shaded areas to stop and rest along the short walkway. As you can see in the opening photo, there are plenty of placards that describe in detail the portion of the ruins you are visiting.
Pithouses were common in the village, however those exhibited at the park are recreations. Several of these houses had openings clustered toward a center courtyard where neighbors could interact, work and play. Shade structures were built nearby to seek relief from the ever-present sun.
Remnants of caliche-brick dwellings surround a large platform mound where residents gathered. In the photo above, an adobe structure once existed with one large room and several smaller rooms. The thick adobe walls helped residents keep cool in the hot summer days.
A couple of recently constructed buildings give visitors a view of what these homes might have looked like inside and out. Small hearths were located inside for heat and light, however cooking was probably done on large hearths outside. Near the residences, a large “ball court” was discovered and unearthed by archaeologists. Historians aren’t sure of the purpose of these depressions that allowed participants in the center and observers to view from the outside area. The purpose may have been for what we know as some kind of game, but there is also speculation that the construction was used for trade and marketing. The gallery below includes images captured one afternoon on our day at Pueblo Grande Ruins. Click on an image to enlarge it and to scroll through the gallery.