Many visitors know Casa Grande, Arizona, for the historic Sonoran Desert ruins. But one destination in the region has stolen the spotlight from the national monument; the domes of Casa Grande.
These spooky structures look like someone dropped them into the desert from outer space. The domes have attracted attention everywhere, with rumors of drug parties, UFO sightings, and even ghostly encounters. But unless you live in Phoenix, you have probably never heard of them.
Let’s fix that now!
What Are the Domes of Casa Grande?
The domes at Casa Grande, Arizona, are abandoned buildings in the desert south of Phoenix. They have unusual shapes with a unique construction technique. The creators of these caterpillar-shaped bubbles made them using giant balloons, foam, and concrete.
However, the buildings remain empty. The elements have worn away much of the concrete, leaving domes with holes in their ceilings and walls and providing a stage for various ghost stories, drug parties, and illicit activities.
How Do You Get to the Domes of Casa Grande?
While heading south from Phoenix on Interstate 10, exit onto Interstate 8 West at Casa Grande, Arizona. Travel nine miles before exiting on Thornton Drive, heading south. Drive for one mile, and the domes will be on your left.
Who Built the Domes?
A computer circuit board manufacturer initially constructed the domes in anticipation of moving their company from California to the Phoenix area. InnerConn Technology began the building process using an inexpensive and fast construction technique. They poured the foundations for several separate structures, then attached giant balloons to the foundations.
They applied a coating of polyurethane foam to the outside of each balloon, like a paper mache project on a vast scale. This coating was about three inches thick, and once it dried, they added another three-inch layer of concrete to the exterior. They then deflated the balloons. The entire construction job was about $150,000 for each building.
However, InnerConn Technologies never moved into their new headquarters, as they defaulted on a loan, and the bank took the company’s properties in 1984.
Today, the domes stand empty in the desert south of Phoenix and feature in several ghost stories.
Are the Domes Haunted?
Ever since InnerConn abandoned the domes, it seems stories of ghoulish occurrences have haunted the area. From graffiti artists to UFO hunters, the domes have attracted interest and some unpleasant personalities. Illegal dumping of trash, furniture, and even hazardous waste has denigrated the grounds, and the remote location makes the domes a magnet for raves, illicit drug use, and more.
With all the unusual traffic to the domes, it was inevitable that stories would circulate. There are rumors of devil worship and time travel through ‘portals’ in the domes, with some locals reporting a child’s screams, ghostly figures wandering nearby, and animal sacrifices.
You will have to decide whether the buildings are the site of nefarious activities or simply wild imaginations.
Pro Tip: Searching for more spooky sites in Phoenix, Arizona? Uncover Why Do People Visit The Thing in Arizona?
Is It Legal to Visit the Domes?
The domes are slowly succumbing to the elements, with most of the cement layer gone from the exterior and holes appearing in the polyurethane foam. Because they are on private land, it is illegal to enter the property. However, many visitors enter regardless.
Each building features graffiti, and the property’s fence is not a deterrent. With such a remote location, it doesn’t appear that anyone is enforcing the “No Trespassing” signs. Even without stepping foot on the property, it is easy to see this strange phenomenon in the desert, as it is close to the road.
Other Spooky Places to Visit Around Phoenix
The southwestern desert has many intriguing destinations that conjure spooky stories and apparitions. We’ve found several other scary spots in the Phoenix area to explore:
The Hotel Congress is two hours south of Phoenix in Tucson, Arizona. It’s over 100 years old, with plenty of history. It has seen murders, shoot-outs, and outlaws.
Even John Dillinger and his gang found the Hotel Congress an excellent place to hide, though officials eventually discovered and arrested them. Many have claimed ghost sightings of a suicidal woman, a handyman, and children playing in the hall.
An outdoor museum at the base of the Superstition Mountains, Pioneer Village is a collection of historic buildings from around Phoenix with a new life as an old west town. With a church, saloon, farm, and telephone museum, the creators of Pioneer Village made it to save these old buildings, relocating them to one place and establishing a museum of the Old West.
Walk the boardwalks of town and poke your head in a building or two to search for ghosts. Most ghost sightings reports occur in the evening, but you might catch one at midday if you’re lucky!
The Orpheum Theater
Originally a vaudeville theater, the Orpheum in Phoenix dates to 1929. It was a stage theater, movie theater, and event destination before falling into disrepair in the 1980s. The owners saved it from bulldozing at the last moment, and after renovations, it is a music venue.
However, its ghosts did not leave with the makeover, and you may run into “Maddie” in the mezzanine. This 12-year-old girl will tell you if you are too loud by tapping you on the shoulder and whispering, “Shhh!” The Orpheum has several ghouls roaming its halls, and you can discover them on a ghost tour in the evening.
On the northeast side of the metroplex, Saguaro Boulevard is in the Fountain Hills region. A rumor began to surface in the 1980s that someone kidnapped, murdered, and dismembered a young girl, scattering her remains throughout a house on Saguaro Boulevard.
Today residents say they can hear a young girl scream and sometimes see her outside trying to run away. The only caveat is that no one will pinpoint the house.
In the early 1800s, the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix were a war zone, with the Apache tribe fighting settlers for their land. Eventually, prospectors entered this area, discovering gold. One German immigrant who struck it rich was Jakob Waltz, who kept the location of his mine secret and died without revealing where it was.
Thousands ventured into the Superstitions to find Waltz’s claim or the “Lost Dutchman Mine,” and many have never returned. Legend was that Apaches set a trap for greedy prospectors in response to the theft of their land.
Pro Tip: Check out these 5 Spooky Ghost Towns in Arizona after exploring the domes of Casa Grande.
Are the Domes of Casa Grande Worth Visiting?
If ghost stories and UFO sightings enthrall you, a visit to the domes of Casa Grande might be high on your bucket list. However, if you enjoy seeing unusual architectural designs and curious destinations, you may want to drive by for a glance. One look would make you wonder if there’s a story behind these structures, and now you know!
Will you visit the domes or their spooky surroundings on your next adventure? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
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