Field Notes

Aliso Viejo Ranch

The Aliso Viejo Ranch is officially open to the public. The rehabilitated historic barn, sheds, new barn, and foreman’s house provide insight into the Moulton Ranch in the 20th century. Visit this 7.7 acre site at 100 Park Ave. Aliso Viejo, CA.

Moulton Museum provided historic artifacts on loan for the displays. This includes Lewis Moulton’s original desk and swivel chair where he oversaw the finances. The day-to-day operations included balancing ledgers and issuing checks. 70 Degrees helped curate this exhibition. As archivists, they digitized Lewis’ personal papers which are featured in his office display.

The Moulton Ranch was nearly 22,000 acres. This land has become the incorporated cities of Aliso Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Laguna Hills, and parts of Laguna Beach and Dana Point.

Moulton Ranch used a Portable Cattle Squeeze & Dehorning Gate. It is a Model 50 L 2200 TECO product by Thompson & Gill, Inc. which was manufactured in Madera, California.

The historic barn is a perfect backdrop for events. It used to contain many of the historic artifacts that were used on the ranch in the 20th century. There are meeting rooms for rent in the barn.

The bunkhouse was a central part of L. F. Moulton and Co. The ranch team rested in this historic building. They were served meals nearby. Charlotte Moulton Mathis stated in her oral history about her dad, “I remember him saying, ‘My men do my work, and they shall eat as well as I eat.’ It was always a treat for me when Daddy would take me to the cookhouse with him for lunch, because the food was fabulous!”

There are Moulton Ranch agricultural implements throughout the site. The two historic sheds contain elements from the 1900s. This smudge pot on the left was used in the agricultural groves. They had citrus trees which required this oil-burning device that was used to prevent frost. This locally made hardware shelf was used by the blacksmith who stored nails, horseshoes, plyers, and other tools.

Self-guided tours are available during regular business hours. They are Monday-Thursday 7:30am-5:30pm and Friday-Sunday 8:00am-3:00pm. If you are looking for a facility tour with staff, please schedule an appointment at (949) 425-2550 or avcity.org.

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