Moraga History – The Joaquin Moraga Adobe

The Joaquin Moraga Adobe (the Adobe) is an icon that anchors our past and serves as a visible presence that allows us to traverse between the distant past and the present. That is why the Moraga Historical Society (MHS), established in 1965 to gather and preserve knowledge about the history of present day Moraga and its surrounding area, supports its preservation.


The Adobe was built in 1841 by Don Joaquin Moraga as one of two family homesteads on the 13,000 acre “Rancho Laguna de los Palos Colorados” land grant from the Mexican Government. Located at 24 Adobe Lane in Orinda on the edge of the Town of Moraga with vista views of both Orinda and Moraga, the Adobe is the oldest surviving building in Contra Costa County. It has been recognized as a California State Historic Landmark since 1954 (landmark #509) and was designated as an Orinda City Landmark in 1995.

The Adobe sits on a 2.3 acre parcel within a new 13 unit sub-division being developed by J&J Ranch Development (J&J). In 2016 an agreement was reached between J&J and a non-profit organization called Friends of the Joaquin Moraga Adobe (FJMA) whereby FJMA agreed to raise $500,000 by September 21, 2021 for the preservation and restoration of the Adobe, with J&J agreeing to fund any additional costs (see Lamorinda Weekly – August 10, 2016 for background). Because of the Adobe’s historical significance to Moraga, our MHS Board of Directors pledged to raise $100,000 to support FJMA’s acquisition of the Adobe.

August 2021 Update

The Moraga Historical Society campaign to contribute $100,000 to the fundraising efforts of the Friends of the Joaquin Moraga Adobe has been accomplished! Purchase of the property site and restoration of the Adobe is underway.

Moraga Historical Society extends a sincere thank you to all Moragans who contributed to this successful campaign.

Going forward, additional funds will be needed for the ongoing maintenance and operation of the Adobe as a Museum and Learning Center focused on the Mexican Rancho Era of California’s history. The Adobe can now become a regional cultural institution that will enable future generations to experience life as it was in 1841, when the Moraga family built it on their Rancho Laguna de los Palos Colorados.

Please consider becoming a member of the Moraga Historical Society (or renew) which costs $15 per individual or $25 a family per year (MHS Membership Form). Donations supporting the MHS Adobe Campaign are also welcome.

MHS is a 501(C) (3)public charity. Tax ID #94-6131965.

Thank you to the Moraga Historical Society Adobe Campaign Committee:

  • Dave Trotter, Committee Chair
  • Sam Sperry, Secretary
  • Brother Mel Anderson (deceased)
  • Ron Louis
  • Dick Olsen

Moraga Historical Society
PO. Box 103
Moraga, CA 94556