Moraga Adobe Begins Purchase Phase

(L-R) FJMA Board Member Tania DeGroot, FJMA President Kent Long, Branagh’s Director of Custom Homes Scott Smigielski, FJMA Vice President SB Master (holding check), Moraga Mayor Dave Trotter (behind Master), Branagh Co-Owners Alex Griffith and Matt Branagh, Terry Murphy and Moraga Historical Society member Colleen Lund.

    On Sept. 24, the Friends of the Joaquin Moraga Adobe (FJMA) and representatives of J&J Ranch Partners LLC met at the Moraga Adobe just above Del Rey Elementary school in south Orinda to present a check for $25,000. The check represents the first annual deposit of a three-year purchase agreement. The total purchase price for the 1841 structure and surrounding two acres is $450,000.
    The structure is located on a section of land purchased by Branagh and named J&J Ranch after Joaquin Moraga and his cousin Juan Bernal, recipients in 1835 of the Mexican land grant for the area. The Moraga family sold the adobe in the 1880s, and it deteriorated until the early 1940s when the Irvine family expanded it into a modern ranch-style house. J&J Ranch LLC purchased the adobe and surrounding 20 acres in 2008. J&J Ranch agreed to build around Joaquin Moraga’s adobe home and to let FJMA purchase the site. After extensive restoration, much of which will be paid by J&J Ranch, FJMA plans to open a museum and learning center focused on the Rancho days of early California, including furnishings and demonstrations of daily life. Historic displays will tell the stories of families like the Moraga family while the edifice will also host rotating exhibits.
    J&J Ranch is a 13-home subdivision currently under construction with sweeping views and lots ranging in size from .62 to 3.39 acres. The final map for the subdivision was approved by the City of Orinda in April of this year.
    For more information on the restoration of the Moraga Adobe, go to

COURTESY OF ORINDA HISTORICAL SOCIETY The abandoned Joaquin Moraga Adobe, originally built in 1841, fell into disrepair. The Friends of the Joaquin Moraga Adobe plan to renovate and restore the structure.

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