ORINDA (KPIX) — A fundraising drive has nearly reached its goal of saving and restoring the oldest home in Contra Costa County. And one day soon it may be a museum to fill a gap in the Bay Area’s history.
Right in the middle of Orinda’s newest neighborhood, sits its oldest house. Built in 1841, the old adobe structure was once the hilltop home of Joaquin Moraga a cattle rancher and grandson of Jose Joaquin Moraga, who helped establish the Presidio and Mission in San Francisco and the city of San Jose. But in recent times, the home of his prominent grandson has largely gone unnoticed.READ MORE: Vandals Smear Chauvin Defense Witness' Former Santa Rosa Home With Pig's Blood
“Going to school here in the area, this was always a bit of a known mystery. And it was very prominent up there on the hill, but largely inaccessible because it was privately owned all these years,” said Jeff Boero, a founding member of “Friends of the Joaquin Moraga Adobe.”
But now, thanks to a fundraising drive, his group has raised nearly half a million dollars to contribute to the building’s restoration and eventually take ownership of it.
“It’ll be 180 years old this year, it’s never been open to the public. We would like to change that,” said the nonprofit’s President, Kent Long.READ MORE: After a Night of Protest Vandalism, Oakland Businesses Pick Up the Pieces
Once the old building is restored, they want to establish a museum, showing what life was like when the grassy hills supported vast cattle ranches known as “ranchos.”
“We hear about the missions and we hear about the Gold Rush,” said Kent, “and there’s a few critical decades in between that’s right at the time when these ranchos were established, right at the time that Moraga settled here.”
It will take a while, but the restoration has already begun and Kent said they hope within about three years the public can see for themselves why the old adobe, with its breathtaking views, was chosen to be the home of one of the Bay Area’s earliest land barons.
“If you have to survey your 13,000 acres…this is a good spot.”MORE NEWS: Stimulus Check Latest: Is A Fourth Relief Payment Coming?
For more information, or to contribute to the effort to restore the Joaquin Moraga Adobe house, click on: www.moragaadobe.org.