Orange County was home to two tribes of native Americans, whose way of life goes back thousands of years. The Tongva (also known as the Gabrillino indians) lived in the flat lands north of Los Alisos Creek and the Acjachmen (also known as the Juaneno due to their proximity to Mission San Juan Capistrano) lived in the coastal and foothills and the mountains south of Los Alison Creek. They harvested acorns, gathered grasses and fruits, hunted on land and fished in the sea. They also wove fine baskets and were part of a flourishing trade network that stretched from the Channel islands to the Colorado River.
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.
In 1842, Don Juan Avila was granted the 13,000 Rancho Niguel on which Laguna
Hills is located.
In 1874, Lewis Moulton travelled from Boston to California and worked the land learning the trade of sheep hearding. He began the Moulton Ranch by leasing Rancho Niguel. After purchasing it in 1895, he increased the original grant to 22,000 acres. Moulton and his partner, Jean Pierre Daguerre, used the ranch for dry farming and to raise sheep and cattle. The Moulton Ranch was eventually subdivided in the early 1960's, part of which is recognized as Laguna Hills.
Official a City
Incorporation efforts began in 1987 and on March 5, 1991, the goal of incorporation was finally achieved with 86% of the residents voting in favor of forming the City of Laguna Hills. On December 20, 1991, Laguna Hills officially became a City.
Official a City
On November 14, 1995, the City Council approved annexation of the North Laguna Hills area, which became part of the incorporated City on July 1, 1996.
On September 18, 2000, with the overwhelming support from the 1,800 residents, the "Westside" annexation area officially became part of the incorporated City. The annexation added 149 acres of residential land, which includes the Aliso Viejo Community Association's Sheep Hills Park.