It is believed that Ramon Peralta built the adobe in 1871 on land that had once been part of the Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana. After he died in 1873, the adobe was vacant at times and may have been damaged by vandals and a fire.
In 1881, Pablo Dominguez and his young bride, Felipa Yorba, moved into the adobe after considerable repair and remodeling to the structure. There is some evidence that so much work was required that many thought that Pablo had built the adobe. Five children were born to Pablo and Felipa in the years 1882-1889.
In 1895, Pablo Dominguez died. When Felipa grew ill, the children had to be temporarily cared for by others. The family occupied the adobe off and on after 1895, but eventually moved to the north side of the river.
The Dominguez family sold the adobe to E. Walter Pyne in 1908. Mr. Pyne later sought to preserve the adobe. To prevent the walls from weathering and deteriorating, he covered the exterior surface with 2 and a half inches of concrete. This measure is one reason that the adobe is still in existence while the other adobes in the area are not.
About 1920, with the realignment of the Santa Ana Canyon Road, the Canyon Cafe and gas station were built adjacent to the adobe. The adobe served as housing for the family operating the cafe, and was later connected to the cafe structure. The adobe would later become a storage room for the Canyon Cafe as traffic increased on Santa Ana Canyon Road until the 1950s.
In 1977, the adobe became the property of the Environment Management Agency. After many restoration proposals, the structure and the surrounding property were leased to C. Robert Langslet with the understanding that he restore and operate the adobe as an historical site open to the public. The Ramon Peralta Adobe officially opened for public use on September 27, 1986. The building was re-opened on April 28, 2006 as an official museum featuring the history of the Santa Ana Canyon from 1769 to present.