Hills is built on one of the major land grants
developed during the Rancho Era. Following Mexico's
independence from Spain in 1821, those who had
served in the government or who had friends in
authority, were given vast lands for cattle grazing.
Rancho Lomas de Santiago, Rancho San Joaquin,
and Rancho Niguel covered much of the western
portion of the Saddleback Valley. Don Juan Avila
was granted the 13,000 Rancho Niguel on which
Laguna Hills is located.
In 1874, Lewis Moulton purchased Rancho Niguel
from Don Juan Avila and increased the original
grant to 22,000 acres. Moulton and his partner,
Jean Piedra Daguerre, used the ranch to raise
sheep and cattle. The Moulton Ranch was eventually
subdivided in the early 1960's, part of which
is recognized as Laguna Hills. The
city was incorporated in 1991.
Hills gained recognition when the private senior
community Leisure World was developed. The community
of Leisure Worls has now incorporated into the
new city of Laguna Woods.
1855 Surveyor General's Plan Map places an adobe
belonging to Juan Avila, on Aliso Creek, just
west of El Camino Real, what is now the 1-5 freeway.
This adobe was the only one built by Juan Avila
on his property titled Rancho Niguel.
location of Juan Avila Adobe is on Aliso Creek
between the 5 Freeway and Paseo de Valencia.
of Laguna Hills