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History of the Joaquin Moraga Adobe

Moraga Adobe c.1935              Photo Courtesy Orinda Historical SocietyDon Joaquin Moraga was the grandson of Jose Joaquin Moraga (b. 1745) an early Spanish explorer in California who founded the city of San Jose.  In 1835, Don Joaquin Moraga and his cousin, Don Juan Bernal, received a land grant from the Mexican government including portions of  Orinda, Moraga, Lafayette, and Canyon.

In 1841, Moraga settled on a piece of property overlooking the southern section of Orinda, near the present-day Orinda-Moraga city line.  He built a three room adobe house, where his family lived for many years.
In 1941, the adobe was restored and expanded, with the addition of modern wood-framed bedrooms in the rear, and the adobe walls were covered.

The adobe and the additions were renovated again in the 1960's.
Moraga Adobe c. 1941Moraga Adobe c.1941                           Photo Courtesy Orinda Historical Society
Calif. State Historical Landmark PlaqueCalif. Landmark Plaque                                    Photo by Teresa Long The Moraga Adobe has been recognized as a historical landmark by the State of California in 1954 (Landmark #509,) the City of Orinda in 1995, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The California State plaque near the front door of the adobe reads as follows: “The Joaquin Moraga Adobe—1841: Jose Joaquin Moraga—member of the Juan Bautista De Anza 1776 expedition,  founder and first commandante of the Presidio of San Francisco—was the grandfather of Don Joaquin Moraga who with his cousin Don Juan Bernal was awarded this grant in 1835 which they called Rancho Laguna De Los Palos Colorados.  In August 1941 this property was acquired and restoration made by Katharine Brown White Irvine of Oakland.  Later ownership was bequeathed to her grandson William Thornton White III—  Contra Costa County Historical Society 1954 California State Registration No. 509”

Today, the Moraga Adobe is privately owned and unoccupied.  The overall condition of the original adobe section and the more modern addition is neglected, but the building appears sound.

The surrounding property was recently purchased, and the new owners have boarded up the windows to prevent vandalism and tresspassing.
Moraga Adobe - Oct. 2008Moraga Adobe,  October 2008                                          Photo by Kent Long 

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