The Moraga Adobe

Moraga Adobe
Moraga Adobe

Don 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, called El Rancho Laguna de los Palos Colorados.

Adobe in 1922
Adobe in 1922

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.

The house has been restored and remodeled twice since it was photographed for HABS in 1922, first in 1941 when Katharine Brown White Irvine of Oakland, California purchased the old adobe, making additions such as adding three bedrooms and a veranda, and covering the adobe walls and again in 1964 when it was incorporated into a private home. 


Map to the Adobe

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 Moraga Adobe has been designated as a Historical Landmark by the City of Orinda and the State of California.

Fandango

Sones
Sones

A fandango is a party where people get together to dance, to play and to sing in a community setting. As local musicians perform the Son Jarocho music, people dance "zapateado" atop a large wooden platform known as a Tarima. The most widely known son jarocho is "La Bamba", which has been popularized through the version by Ritchie Valens and the American movie of the same name.

Fandango can both be sung and danced. Sung fandango has an instrumental introduction followed by "variaciones". 

Californio

Californio is a Spanish term for a descendant of a person of Spanish ancestry who was born in what is now the U.S. state of California. The Californio era was from the first Spanish presence established by the Portolá expedition in 1769 until the region's cession to the United States of America in 1848. Persons of similar characteristics but born on the Baja California peninsula during the same time period may also be considered Californios, since that area was part of the original Spanish Las Californias.

The population of non-Spanish-speaking indigenous peoples of California who lived in the area prior to and during the Californio era were not Californios. Many Californios, however, were the California-born children of non-Spanish speakers who married Spanish speakers.

Californios were eligible to own land and receive rancho grants from the Mexican government. Most such grants occurred after mission secularization in the 1830s. An even looser definition may include descendants of Californios, especially those who married other Californio descendants.

Rancho

The Spanish and Mexican governments encouraged settlement of territory now known as California by establishment of large land grants called ranchos. These land-grant titles were government-issued, permanent, unencumbered property-ownership rights. Ranchers devoted to raising cattle and sheep attempted to pattern themselves after the landed gentry of Spain.

Governor Juan Alvarado
Governor Juan Alvarado

Rancho Laguna de Los Palos Colorados was a 13,316-acre Mexican land grant given in 1841 by Governor Juan Alvarado to Joaquín Moraga and his cousin, Juan Bernal. The name means "Ranch of the Lake of the Redwoods" in Spanish. The rancho included the present-day Orinda, Lafayette and Moraga, as well as the communities Canyon and Rheem.