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.
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.
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.