CASA GRANDE (What’s In a Name) – Casa Grande calls itself a modern city with a rural heritage and old-fashioned values. The largest city in Pinal County, Casa Grande is named after a large prehistoric structure located 19 miles away. One of the largest prehistoric ruins discovered in North America. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, located in the nearby town of Coolidge, is the city’s namesake, but it was not the first name it bore.
What was to become Casa Grande was just a cluster of buildings situated at the end of the Southern Pacific Railroad line back in 1879. When the railroad laid the tracks from California heading eastward, they ran out of money in the Spring and the tracks ended abruptly right there. The railroad planned to continue construction eastward when the new year arrived. Meanwhile, the town of “Terminus,” sprang up where the tracks ended. One year later, in 1880, railroad executives changed the name to Casa Grande, after the nearby prehistoric ruins.
The mining era came to a close in the late 1890's. Agriculture took over as the engine that drove the local economy. In 1915, Casa Grande was incorporated. During the Great Depression, a collective farm society sprang up as part of Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal.’ During World War II, an internment camp that housed Japanese-Americans was located just outside of Casa Grande. In the early 1960’s, the San Francisco Giants relocated to Casa Grande for their spring training seasons. The Giants called Francisco Grande, in Casa Grande, home for two decades until the end of the 1981 season.
A bright point in the future of Casa Grande, in 2016, Lucid Motors announced that it will build its plant to make electric cars in Casa Grande. The plant, expected to open in 2022, is forecast to bring over 2,000 jobs to the area.