Moore Ranch, Nicasio Land buildings stilllife history contact


In 1844, along with many Mexican land grants awarded in the post-Mission era, ~ 56,000 acres known as The Rancho Nicasio was granted to a Castilian Nobleman and an Anglo Sea Captain as payment for their efforts in the Mexican War of Independence. In turn, they granted 9500 acres of the land to their surveyor, who sold it to James Black, a Scottish sailor stranded in California by a bout of Thyphus. Black built the first building in Nicasio, his adobe home, established a cattle cooperative for local ranchers, and is the namesake of our favorite local landmark, Black Mountain. His family owned the parcel including Moore Ranch Nicasio until 1922.

From the time of the land grant and throughout the 19th Century, the Ranch was rented to immigrant dairy ranchers from Eastern states and later from Switzerland. They raised dairy and beef cattle on the same grass and spring water our cows enjoy today. In 1922, the Gallagher family, dairy ranchers with extensive family in the area, moved onto the ranch. Edward Gallagher worked the ranch with his wife Mary, and their nine children, many of whom later settled in the area. During the Depression, the family lived solely on what the ranch could provide, but later became more prosperous, producing milk for the Point Reyes cooperative Creamery and the Nicasio Cheese factory, and raising beef and pork for sale in San Francisco. The Gallaghers purchased the ranch land in 1947, and their sons continued to the cattle operations until 2000, when they sold the ranch to Jim and Margaret Moore. Their good friend Rich Gallagher who was born and raised on the ranch continues to run the cattle operation. Round ups always end on a high note with his barbeque tri-tip.

The Moores coordinated an agricultural easement with Marin Agricultural Land Trust to ensure that the ranch will be sustained as agricultural land for generations. The land trust has now protected over 45,000 acres and 69 family ranches in Marin County.
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