Moraga Historical Society Newsletter

The Moraga Historical Society originally published the El Rancho Moraga Quarterly as a “landscape” printed booklet mailed to members of the MHS. In 2020 the MHS switched to a “portrait” newsletter format published as a pdf available here online and as a print version mailed to MHS members. If you would like to receive a print version of our Newsletter by mail, please Become a Member of the Moraga Historical Society. If you follow us on Twitter you will receive notification when the latest newsletter is available online as a pdf. Click on the date – ie Q1 2020 – to open in your Acrobat Reader. The newsletter and older quarterlies contain a wealth of historical facts about both the “distant” past and information about the more “recent” activities of the MHS. The digital versions of the quarterlies are lost but we are in the process of scanning the print versions and posting them here in a pdf format. The older quarterlies often include lengthy articles which we are extracting and posting as individual web pages (see MHS Newsletter Excerpt Index).

2023 Second Quarter This issue: Trains Through Moraga: anybody who arrived in Moraga since its incorporation as a town in 1974 can be forgiven for being ignorant that between 1913-1957 an electric railway passed through Moraga from Oakland on its way to Chico. Apart from a couple commemorative plaques there is little evidence of a past that some might say presaged the energy transition future. In this issue Sam Sperry provides an overview of Moraga’s train history which, ironically, came to an end when Moraga transitioned from an agricultural backwater to a vibrant bedroom commuter community. This issue also acknowledges the passing of Bill Lund, former editor of the MHS Newsletter, and Kathy Zuber, a long time Moraga teacher who also participated in the MHS Third Grade Tour which we are happy to report resumed this year after a 3 year covid hiatus.
2023 First Quarter This issue: The Forgotten Redwoods of Moraga: most discussions about the history of Moraga begin with the Mexican land grant to Joachim Moraga called “Rancho Laguna de los Palos Colorados” and describe how ranching and farming evolved into today’s bedroom community for the Bay Area. Google translates “Palos Colorados” as “colored sticks”, reminding us that the southern third of the land grant consisted of old growth redwood forest which today exists as second growth forest in the Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park and the adjacent community of Canyon. This issue touches on the redwood history of the Moraga land grant and the fact that redwoods are rather picky about where they naturally grow. It also includes a tribute to Al Baitx, the first official Moraga fire chief. And it includes a plea to support the MHS by renewing or becoming a member.
2022 Fourth Quarter This issue: St. Mary’s College Walking Tour: Daniel Berkes’ Eagle Scout Project – MHS webmaster John Kaiser describes the challenges Daniel Berkes overcame to create a Walking Tour that celebrates St. Mary’s College as an integral part of Moraga’s history; Susan Skilton reports on a Luncheon held on September 21, 2022 by the Contra Costa Historical Society on behalf of all the historical societies within Contra Costa County such as MHS to discuss the challenges of operating as a historical society and attracting community support; Notice of an upcoming event on November 6, 2022 at 2 pm at the Orinda Community Center sponsored by the Orinda, Lafayette and Moraga historical societies on “Building the Caldecott Tunnel” and introducing the new “Images of America: Orinda” book by Allison Burns; President’s Message announcing winners of the July Fourth and Pear Festival raffles and encouraging Lamorinda community members to participate in the November 6 Event.
2022 Third Quarter This issue: History Articles: The First of the Land Barons by Sam and Susan Sperry, The Last of the Land Barons by Susan Sperry, New MHS Web Site Feature: Old Moraga Town Site Walking Tour by John Kaiser and Susan Skilton, Speaker Event May 12, 2022 – Carol Jensen on Maritime Contra Costa County, President’s Message
2022 Second Quarter This issue: Explore the new MHS web site, Obituaries for Rose Lee Tom and Dan Rego, 2022 MHS members welcome, Upcoming Speaker Event May 12, 2022 – Carol Jensen on Maritime Contra Costa County, History Article: Life in the Moraga Valley from 1849-1870 by Susan Sperry
2022 First Quarter This issue: Eliza J. Berry Headstone in Moraga, Moraga Valley Store, Early Moraga family history in Alta California
Summer 2021 This issue: Moraga Historical Society meets $100,000 Pledge to the Friends of the Joaquin Moraga Adobe
Spring 2020 This issue: Donald Laird Rheem – “Father of Moraga”, seeking editor for our quarterly newsletter, President’s Message, MHS Fundraiser for the Adobe – May 21, 2020.
El Rancho Moraga Quarterlies from 2018 and earlier
Note: The El Rancho Moraga Quarterlies from 2018 and earlier were printed as booklets which have been scanned and converted to a pdf. To read them online, after opening with Adobe Reader, select View, Rotate View and Counterclockwise.
Q1 2018 This issue: Winter & Spring 2018
Q1 2017 This issue: Winter & Spring 2017
Q4 2016 This issue: Winter 2016
Q2 2016 This issue: Spring-Autumn 2016
Q1 2016 This issue: Spring 2016
Q3 2015 This issue: Summer 2015
Q3 2014 This issue: Autumn 2014
Q2 2014 This issue: Spring-Summer 2014
Q1 2014 This issue: Winter-Spring 2014
Q3 2013 This issue: Autumn 2013
Q3 2012 This issue: Autumn 2012