Moulton Museum actively archives, restores, and preserves Orange County historical artifacts. We are committed to sharing the collection with the public through exhibitions and events.
We are expanding the collective understanding of the ranching era and its lasting impact on the economic, social, architectural, and cultural fabric of Orange County
Our core values of heritage, community, and philanthropy are reflected in our archives, exhibits, educational programs, and partnerships.
The Moulton Museum actively archives, restores, and preserves Orange County historical artifacts. We are committed to sharing the collection with the public through exhibition and events. We are expanding the collective understanding of the ranching era and its lasting impact on the economic, social, architectural, and cultural fabric of Orange County.
If you are interested in helping the Moulton Museum pursue its goals, please contact Jared Mathis at 949-450-6285.
We are supported by The Moulton Company. Visit their site to learn more about the history.
About Rancho Niguel
Development of Moulton Ranch
November 1, 1776
Mission San Juan Capistrano
Mission San Juan Capistrano was founded by Father Junípero Serra, a priest in the Franciscan order of the Catholic Church on behalf of Spain. “California’s cattle industry began in 1769 when Captain Gaspar de Portola and his group of missionaries and soldiers brought 200 head of cattle to the area, and by 1863, approximately three million cattle were grazing on the hills of California.”
Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821. California became Mexican territory and many rancheros were formed in Southern California, including Rancho Niguel.
In 1848, The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed with Mexican government that ended the war. The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter’s Mill. California became the 31st state on September 9, 1850
Lewis Fenno Moulton
Lewis Fenno Moulton (1854-1938) arrives at Rancho San Joaquin (Irvine Ranch) at twenty years old. Louise Moulton Hanson shared, “He got a job on the San Joaquin ranch working under Charles French. He and Mr. French bought a flock of sheep, and my father eventually bought out Mr. French. He ran his sheep on rented land from Oceanside to Wilmington.”
L. F. Moulton & Co.
Lewis forms the L. F. Moulton and Co. with Basque partner, Jean Pierre Daguerre to run the 21,723 acres. Lewis bought out his partner and renamed this operation Moulton Ranch. This encompasses what is now Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Woods and Laguna Hills.