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Laguna 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.

Laguna 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.

Historical Monument

Juan Avila Adobe
The 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.

The location of Juan Avila Adobe is on Aliso Creek between the 5 Freeway and Paseo de Valencia.

City of Laguna Hills



South Orange County Regional Chamber
26111 Antonio Pkwy # 400 Rancho Santa Margarita
(949) 635-5800

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