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 in time with our historical images and maps as you explore the life of our former ranching pioneers.
The original Moulton Homestead was located near the El Torito Restaurant which is situation by the Oakbrook Timeline in Laguna Hills, CA. From sheepherding to cattle, the ranch operate year-round. While seasonal droughts did affect crops and livelihoods at different times, the ranch grew to be an agricultural success within the community.
Today, members of the surrounding community can enjoy self-guided tours during regular business hours:
With each new project, Moulton Museum always prioritizes honoring the land. The city of Aliso Viejo constructed the new red barn in a manner that resembles historic barns that were commonly found on the Moulton Ranch. This innovative space was engineered to contain modern fixtures, such as a solar powered roof, and an interior flex-space that is used for events.
Construction started in July 2019 and wrapped up in January 2021. The red barn now 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.
Check out the time-lapse film to witness a live view of the site as the barn was being constructed
In 1874, Lewis Fenno Moulton was an eligible bachelor who arrived in Southern California as a strappy twenty-year-old seeking his own enterprise. His strong work ethic and perseverance came from years of hard work. Years later, he established the Moulton Ranch by purchasing land for sheep herding, consisting of 21,723 acres of land, including Aliso Viejo Ranch.
This map is a representation of Moulton Ranch in El Toro, CA prior to 1935, imagined as it was when Lewis’ daughter, Charlotte, grew up.
To learn more about the true pioneer spirit of Lewis Fenno Moulton and how he shaped Orange County history, click the button below.
L.F. Moulton & Co referred to this as the Mule Barn (highlighted in yellow on the Lewis F. Moulton Ranch map above). This was where all the historic farming instruments were store throughout the years. The barn had been in a state of disrepair for quite some time, so it had to be moved in order to pour a new foundation and be certified to meet modern building standards. It was then reduced back to its 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.
To see more historic artifacts preserved by Moulton Museum, check out our Moulton Ranch Equipment Collection.