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Orange History

Located in Orange County, California, the city of Orange is a slice of old town charm. The city was founded in 1871 by two attorneys, Alfred Chapman and Andrew Glassell, who received the land in payment for their legal services. The founders originally wanted to call the town Richland, but since there was already a town in California by that name, the Post Office insisted on a name change.

A popular legend has it that Glassell, Chapman, and two other gentlemen wanted to name the town after what they imagined would be the leading product of the region. Glassell chose oranges, Chapman chose lemons, and the other two went with olives and almonds. The matter was settled over a poker game. Glassell won, and the town became known as Orange. As consolation to the other three, the surrounding streets were named Lemon, Olive, and Almond.

Orange's historic district, known as Old Towne, lies in the heart of the city, surrounding the Plaza Square around which Orange was built. This one square-mile area still contains many of the original buildings dating back to the city's incorporation in 1888. Old Towne remains a vibrant commercial district, featuring antique malls, galleries, and restaurants. Old Towne also boasts the oldest operating bank and the oldest operating soda fountain in Orange County.

Orange is also the home of the Irvine Regional Park, which dates back to 1897, making it the oldest regional park in California. Guests of the park can visit the Orange County Zoo, ride the Irvine Park Railroad, or hike the network of trails that wind through the hills and grassy parklands. One popular trail, the Puma Ridge-Horseshoe Loop, features a breathtaking view overlooking the park from the south canyon wall.