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Tucked away in the heart of Moraga, California, lies the beautiful Hacienda de las Flores. Rich with beautiful greenery including blue atlas trees, willows, palms, and flowers, the grounds of the venue are gorgeous on their own but paired with the stunning Spanish-style architecture of the Hacienda, make this an incredible place to say ‘I do.’
The Hacienda de las Flores is within an hour of Downtown San Francisco and an hour and a half from Stockton, making this a great getaway for a quiet and secluded wedding location. With a rich history to accompany this gorgeous property, let's dive into how the Hacienda came to be the amazing estate that it is today.
Joaquin Moraga, the founder of the Town of Moraga, acquired the Rancho Laguna de Los Palos Colorados (the original name of Moraga) in 1841 alongside his cousin, Juan Bernal. The name Moraga is a popular one in the San Franciscan region as Joaquin’s grandfather, Jose Joaquin Moraga, was the creator of the famous Presidio of San Francisco (also known as El Presidio Real de San Francisco or the Royal Fortress of Saint Francis) and the eventual creator of the city of San Jose.
Rancho Laguna de Los Palos Colorados, or Ranch of the Lake of the Redwoods, began to see various settlers on the land up until Joaquin’s passing in 1855. After that time, the various settlers and farmers in the region continued to develop the land primarily for crops, keeping Moraga rural for the next 50 years. Jesse Williams was the settler and farmer that acquired the lands where the Rheem Estate and the Hacienda de las Flores stand today. After passing from the Williams family to Manuel Lucas in 1906, 20 acres of the 160-acre property would sell to Albert Higgins, father of Alberta Hortense. Alberta inherited the property from her father following his death and together with her friend Gertrude E. Mallette, wanted to create a home for orphaned boys. Gertrude was the primary designer of the Hacienda de las Flores.
Built in 1916, the Hacienda was originally a single-story Spanish-style ranch house with three bedrooms, oak floors, and a tile roof. The main entrance to the house was originally off Moraga Road, with the Mosaic Room as the original entry point to the Hacienda. Sadly, Hortense and Mallette’s dreams of hosting a boy’s orphanage on the property were shut down and they were forced to make other plans for the property. They refocused their efforts on raising cattle, sheep, Irish setters, and crops until the economic crash of 1929 forced them to sell the land to Donald and Alice Rheem.
While an unfortunate ending for Hortense and Mallette, the Rheems saw nothing but potential in the property, turning the single-story Hacienda into the beautiful mansion that it is today. Beginning development in 1937, Donald Rheem desired to build the land into a beautiful summer home for himself and his wife Alice.
Alice Rheem had a love for the area and horses and as a result, the Hacienda has a thoroughbred exercise area and race track. Along with this, stables, service quarters, a theater, and more were added to the property, elevating the Hacienda to a mansion. As a part of the mansion’s construction, the Rheems added beautiful ironwork, arched windows, staircases, and ornate details such as silver and gold leaf to the overall design of the Hacienda that can still be enjoyed today. In spending close to a million dollars on the remodel and adding additional wings and floors to the main house and even a pool complex on the property, the Hacienda de las Flores came to be known as the “San Simeon of the East Bay.” After the construction of the Pavilion, or poolside cabana, by World’s Fair architect Clarence Tantau in 1938, the grounds became a spot for lavish parties, fashion shows, and more while under the Rheems' ownership.
In 1973, the estate was sold to the Moraga Parks and Recreation Authority and took the official title of Hacienda de las Flores by 1979. Want to learn more about the history of the Town of Moraga? Visit the Moraga Historical Society's website.
This historic town-owned property has been beautifully maintained since 1973 and still houses a beautiful mansion, pavilion, lawn, and parkland with blue atlas trees, willows, palms, and flowers. The Spanish-style estate hosts a grand patio with a central fountain, the perfect spot for any wedding reception with the Hacienda and garden serving as gorgeous backdrops.
Additionally, across the lawn, many a ceremony has been hosted at the Pavilion. With its neoclassical design and secluded garden, this is a stunning site inside and out and, with its broad patio area, also serves as a perfect spot for cocktail hour.
While your guests enjoy their time in front of the Pavilion or at the Hacienda, you and your honey can escape for many an amazing photo opportunity. With 9 acres of grounds to choose from, you and your photographer can venture to the wooded areas of the estate for a more forested look, head to the park's stone stairway, or stay within the garden for a colorful collection of photo opportunities.
After capturing your amazing wedding photos and enjoying a romantic ceremony, party the night away with friends and family back at the Hacienda patio, complete with bistro lights, garden views, and the stunning Spanish-style Hacienda for a stunning end to an amazing day.
Our Favorite Things About This Property:
If you're ready to make this your Northern California wedding venue, contact us now and we'll schedule your free tour of the Hacienda de las Flores. We'd also like to give a special thanks to the town of Moraga for allowing us to be a part of the amazing history of the Hacienda de las Flores; we can't wait for the many weddings and events to come!