Aliso Viejo Ranch
Virtual Exhibit

Welcome to the former Moulton Ranch!

Orange County Historical Commissioners presented the Aliso Viejo Ranch site plaque to Mayor Ross Chun and Moulton Museum President Jared Mathis.

The Aliso Viejo Ranch site contains the oldest structures in the City and represents the last physical evidence of the region’s late-19th and early 20th century agricultural past. The site is a part of what was once the vast 22,000-acre Moulton Ranch, and the remaining  buildings, artifacts, and farming implements highlight the rich ranching history of South Orange County.

This site was one of the headquarters of L.F. Moulton & Co. The ranch used to have sheep and cattle in the rolling, open hills of Orange County. We invite you to step back into time with our historical images and maps that will guide you further as you visit our partner site. This location is 7.7 acres that would have been considered a camp. This site was leased and paid residuals to the company. The foreman would operate a site and lived on the premises. The team of workers rested in the bunkhouse and were served meals by a cook. 

From sheepherding to cattle, the ranch operated year round and was very weather dependent. Seasonal droughts affected crops and livelihoods.

Aliso Viejo Ranch

Red Barn

The city constructed the new barn in a manner that resembles historic barns that used to be on Moulton Ranch. The innovative space has been engineered to contain modern fixtures such as the solar powered roof. The interior flex-space is used for events. 

It contains Moulton Museum exhibits that include Native American and Moulton family history. Artifacts include a carriage and recreation of Lewis’ office with a series of checks, ledgers, and personal papers. 

Lewis F. Moulton's Office & Personal Papers

White Barn Storehouse

L. F. Moulton & Co. referred to this as the Mule Barn (highlighted in yellow) on the Lewis Fenno Moulton Ranch El Toro, California Imagined as it was when Charlotte Grew Up prior to 1935 map (shown above). It was where all the historic farming instruments were stored throughout the years. Shown in the photo above, the barn had been in a state of disrepair. It had to be moved to pour new foundation and be certified for modern building standards. It was reduced in its size back to the original 1920s scale before the Mission Viejo Company utilized it for commercial purposes.

Today, it serves as an office and meeting space for the city. You can see the historical integrity of the site when you step into the space where the original beams are showcased along new ones.


This historic structure was added in the 1920s to house the men who helped operate Moulton Ranch. They were American, Basque, Mexican, and Native American people. The language was diverse just like the various roles on the ranch: sheepherder, farmer, fence puller, cowboy, cook, and blacksmith. There was enough room to sleep and rest from the long days that started at sunrise and completed at sundown. The cook would prepare them hearty meals such as meat and potatoes to sustain them for rigorous work.

Moulton Ranch was sold to Mission Viejo Company in 1976. The company used this site as an office when they planned the development of the city. 

Today, this is a meeting room for the city. The museum uses it for art and history exhibitions with our community partners like LCAD.

"My men do my work, and they shall eat as well as I eat."

Can you find Louise Moulton, Lewis' youngest daughter, in this group photo?
Louise Moulton

Foreman's House

This building was originally constructed in the 1920s. It is a reproduction based on archival images that the museum provided to the historic architectural firm. Many foremen lived here during the 20th century. Louise Hanson’s photo album referred to it as the “Little House” as shown in the color image from the 1970s.

Today, this site serves as headquarters for Gold Coast Farms that has a hydroponic system. They sustain our community by educating and donating produce to Orange County Food Bank. 

Farming and Ranching Equipment

Two Historic Sheds

Under Construction Photos in 2020

View the time-lapse film and live view of the site here.