Orange, California

Orange is a city located in Orange County, California. It is approximately 3 miles north of the county seat, Santa Ana. Orange is unusual in this region because many of the homes in its Old Town District were built before 1920. While many other cities in the region demolished such houses in the 1960s, Orange decided to preserve them. The small city of Villa Park is surrounded by the city of Orange. The population was 138,669 as of 2019.


Members of the Tongva and Juaneño/Luiseño ethnic group long inhabited this area. After the 1769 expedition of Gaspar de Portolá, an expedition out of San Blas, Nayarit, Mexico, led by Father Junípero Serra, named the area Vallejo de Santa Ana. On November 1, 1776, Mission San Juan Capistrano became the area's first permanent European settlement in Alta California, New Spain.
In 1801, the Spanish Empire granted to José Antonio Yorba, which he named Rancho San Antonio. Yorba's great rancho included the lands where the cities of Olive, Orange, Villa Park, Santa Ana, Tustin, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach stand today. Smaller ranchos evolved from this large rancho, including the Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana.
Don Juan Pablo Grijalva, a retired known Spanish soldier and the area's first landowner, was granted permission in 1809 by the Spanish colonial government to establish a rancho in "the place of the Arroyo de Santiago."
After the Mexican–American War, Alta California was ceded to the United States by México with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, and though many Californios lost titles to their lands in the aftermath, Grijalva's descendants retained ownership through marriages to Anglo-Americans.
Show, depicting Montezuma in an Aztec temple
Since at least 1864, Los Angeles attorneys Alfred Chapman and Andrew Glassell, together and separately, held about along both sides of the Santiago Creek. Water was the key factor for the location of their townsite. Glassell needed a spot he could irrigate, bringing water down from the Santa Ana Canyon and the quality of the soil may have influenced his choice. Originally the community was named Richland, but in 1873 Richland got a new name.
In the book, "Orange, The City 'Round The Plaza" by local historian Phil Brigandi, it states, "In 1873 the town had grown large enough to require a post office, so an application was sent to Washington. It was refused, however, as there was already a Richland, California in Sacramento County. Undaunted, the Richlanders proposed a new name – Orange."
The small town was incorporated on April 6, 1888, under the general laws of the state of California. Orange was the only city in Orange County to be planned and built around a plaza, earned it the nickname Plaza City. Orange was the first developed town site to be served by the California Southern Railroad when the nation's second transcontinental rail line reached Orange County.
The town experienced its first growth spurt during the last decade of the 19th century, thanks to ever-increasing demands for California-grown citrus fruits, a period some refer to as the "Orange Era." Southern California's real estate "boom" of 1886–1888, fueled by railroad rate wars, also contributed to a marked increase in population. Like most cities in Orange County, agriculture formed the backbone of the local economy, and growth thereafter was slow and steady until the 1950s, when a second real estate boom spurred development. Inspired by the development of a region-wide freeway system which connected Los Angeles' urban center with outlying areas like Orange, large tracts of housing were developed from the 1950s to the early 1970s, and this continues today, albeit at a much slower pace, at the eastern edge of the city.


The city has a total area of, of which is land and of which is water. The total area is 1.75% water.


Southern California is well known for year-round pleasant weather:

– On average, the warmest month is August.

– The highest recorded temperature was in June 2016.

– On average, the coolest month is December.

– The lowest recorded temperature was in December 1990.

– The maximum average precipitation occurs in January.
The period of April through November is warm and dry with average high temperatures of and lows of. Due to the moderating effect of the ocean, temperatures are cooler than more inland areas of Orange County, where temperatures frequently exceed and occasionally reach. The period of November through March is somewhat rainy, as shown in the table to right.
The Orange County area is also subject to the phenomena typical of a microclimate. As such, the temperatures can vary as much as between inland areas and the coast, with a temperature gradient of over 1 °F per mile from the coast inland. California also has a weather phenomenon called "June Gloom" or "May Gray," which sometimes brings overcast or foggy skies in the morning on the coast, but usually gives way to sunny skies by noon, during late spring and early summer.
The Orange County area averages of precipitation annually, which mainly occurs during the winter and spring with generally light rain showers, but sometimes as heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. Coastal Torrance receives slightly less rainfall, while the mountains receive slightly more. Snowfall is extremely rare in the city basin, but the mountains within city limits typically receive snowfall every winter.


, a one square-mile around the original plaza, contains many of the original structures built in the period after the city's incorporation. It is a vibrant commercial district, containing Orange County's oldest operating bank and the oldest operating soda fountain. The Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997, and is the largest National Register District in California. The Old Towne Preservation Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining the district.
Orange is unique among the region and the state in that it has the second largest concentration of historic buildings. A list of all of the buildings and sites in Orange appears in the National Register of Historic Places.

Architectural styles in Old Towne Orange


The 2010 United States Census reported that Orange had a population of 136,416. The population density was 5,404.7 people per square mile. The racial makeup of Orange was 91,522 White, 2,227 African American, 993 Native American, 15,350 Asian, 352 Pacific Islander, 20,567 from other races, and 5,405 from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 52,014 persons.
The Census reported that 130,163 people lived in households, 2,587 lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 3,666 were institutionalized.
There were 43,367 households, out of which 16,303 had children under the age of 18 living in them, 23,572 were opposite-sex married couples living together, 5,260 had a female householder with no husband present, 2,424 had a male householder with no wife present. There were 2,442 unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 373 same-sex married couples or partnerships. 8,480 households were made up of individuals and 3,115 had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.00. There were 31,256 families ; the average family size was 3.42.
The population was spread out with 32,096 people under the age of 18, 16,420 people aged 18 to 24, 39,574 people aged 25 to 44, 33,698 people aged 45 to 64, and 14,628 people who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.8 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.7 males.
There were 45,111 housing units at an average density of 1,787.3 per square mile, of which 26,319 were owner-occupied, and 17,048 were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.1%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.1%. 77,179 people lived in owner-occupied housing units and 52,984 people lived in rental housing units.
During 20092013, Orange had a median household income of $78,838, with 11.8% of the population living below the federal poverty line.


As of the census of 2000, there were 128,821 people, 40,930 households, and 30,165 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,506.4 inhabitants per square mile. There were 41,904 housing units at an average density of 1,791.2 per square mile.
The racial makeup of the city was 70.60% White, 1.59% African American, 0.78% Native American, 9.22% Asian, 0.23% Pacific Islander, 13.84% from other races, and 3.74% from two or more races. 32.21% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 40,930 households, out of which 37.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.1% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.3% were non-families. 19.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.02 and the average family size was 3.43.
The population was spread out with 26.7% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 33.3% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 9.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 100.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $58,994, and the median income for a family was $64,573. Males had a median income of $42,144 versus $34,159 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,294. 10.0% of the population and 6.8% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 12.5% of those under the age of 18 and 7.5% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

Government and politics

In the California State Senate, Orange is split between, and. In the California State Assembly, it is split between, and.
In the United States House of Representatives, Orange is split between, and.
After the 2018 elections, the City Council consists of Mayor Mark A. Murphy and Councilmembers Mike Alvarez, Kim Nichols, and Chip Monaco.
Orange, like much of Orange County, is known for its affluence and political conservatism – a 2005 academic study listed Orange among three Orange County cities as being among America's 25 "most conservative," making it one of two counties in the country containing more than one such city.
Orange remains a somewhat conservative city in recent years; however, in 2016, Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump by 1,463 votes, and the city weighed in as 3% more Republican than the average of Orange County, and nearly 14% more Republican than the state of California did as a whole. According to the California Secretary of State, as of February 10, 2019, Orange has 69,828 registered voters. Of those, 25,744 are registered Republicans, 22,162 are registered Democrats, and 18,759 have no political party preference/are independents.


Largest employers

According to the City's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
#Employer# of employees
1University of California, Irvine Medical Center4,000
2Sisters of St. Joseph Hospital3,853
3Children's Hospital of Orange County2,400
4Orange County Transportation Authority990
5Chapman University800
6National Oilwell Varco800
7City of Orange797
8Kerr Dental610
9Sisters of St. Joseph's Health System500
12Santiago Canyon College490

People and culture

Points of interest

Orange is home to parks, lakes, a small zoo, a university, and a wildlife sanctuary.
The Outlets at Orange a large, outdoor shopping and entertainment center, is located at the southwestern edge of the city. Anchors include Neiman Marcus Last Call Old Navy, Hollister, Ann Taylor Factory Store, and Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th as well as AMC Theatres, Dave & Buster's, Vans Skatepark and Lucky Strike Bowling Center.
Historically, the plaza has been primarily home to a wide variety of antique shops—and has become a well known destination amongst antique collectors. A more recent trend has brought clothing boutiques, and several casual and upscale restaurants. It also features a Starbucks, Wells Fargo bank, a Masonic lodge, and is within walking distance of Chapman University and the newly reconstructed public library. Films such as That Thing You Do! starring Tom Hanks, Accepted starring Justin Long, and Big Momma's House, Ghost Whisperer, Black Sheep were all filmed in the historical Old Towne Orange.
The Woman's Club of Orange Organized February 1915, is located near the plaza in the Old Towne District. Their clubhouse, built in 1923–1924, is entered in the National Register of Historic Places. In 2009 Woman's Club of Orange, a member of the General Federation of Women's clubs, is still a very active and vibrant club of 180 members. Their annual Flower Show, celebrating its 72nd year in April is a major city event.
Since 1973, during Labor Day Weekend, the plaza plays host to the Orange International Street Fair. Friends, families and neighbors get together to experience a variety of food, music and dance from cultures around the world. The profits from the event go to non-profit charities that help people in the community.
The Village at Orange in northern Orange on Tustin Avenue near Lincoln, is anchored by Walmart and Sears.
The "Villa Park Orchards Association" packing house, located along the former Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway mainline, is the sole remaining fruit packing operation in Orange County.
The Lewis Ainsworth House is the city's only restored house museum.



Like most cities in Southern California, the primary means of transportation is the automobile. Orange is situated near many state freeways, as well as Interstate 5, also known as the Santa Ana Freeway. The junction of I-5 with two state highways, commonly called the "Orange Crush", is one of the busiest interchanges in Orange County, and is located on the southwestern edge of the city. The Costa Mesa Freeway also passes through Orange, meeting the eastern terminus of SR 22 in the southern part of the city. The eastern areas of Orange are served by the Eastern and Foothill Toll Roads, two of California's first toll highways, which connect the city with the cities of Irvine and Rancho Santa Margarita.


The town's first rail service, the Santa Ana, Orange & Tustin Street Railway, was a 4.04-mile long horsecar line that ran between Santa Ana and Orange, beginning in 1886. One year later, the Santa Ana & Orange Motor Road Company purchased the line, using a steam "dummy" car and a single gasoline motorcar as its means of conveyance. In 1906, Henry E. Huntington acquired the company under the auspices of the Los Angeles Inter-Urban Railway and electrified the line.
Passenger service over the new line operated by Huntington's Pacific Electric Railway began on June 8, 1914, originating at the PE's depot on Lemon Street. The route provided freight service to the local citrus growers, in direct competition with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Pacific Electric sold out in 1961 to the Southern Pacific Railroad, who ultimately abandoned the line in 1964.
The Santa Fe, under its affiliate the Southern California Railway, laid its first tracks through Orange in 1886, and established its first depot the following year. The route would become part of the railroad's famous "Surf Line", and by 1925, 16 daily passenger trains made stops in Orange. During peak growing seasons, as many as 48 carloads of citrus fruits, olives, and walnuts were shipped daily from the Orange depot as well.
Rail connections to Los Angeles, the Inland Empire, and Northern San Diego County are provided by the Metrolink regional commuter rail network. The Orange Metrolink station's platform is situated adjacent to the former Santa Fe depot in the downtown Historic District, which is also home to an Orange County Transportation Authority bus station, is the second busiest station of the entire Metrolink train system due to its position serving as a transfer station for the Orange County and the IEOC Metrolink lines. The former Santa Fe mainline links the cities of Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego via a junction north of the station.


in nearby Santa Ana, provides daily scheduled airline service for the area.

Schools, colleges and universities

In 1978 and 1979, the California Sunshine was a professional soccer team that played regular season games in Orange.
The city roots for major league teams: the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of baseball and the Anaheim Ducks of ice hockey, right along the city borders across the Santa Ana River in Anaheim.
In the city proper: the Sou Cal A's of the Southern California Collegiate Baseball Association play in Athletic Field.

Notable people

Orange used to have two community partnerships with Utrecht, the Netherlands; and Santiago, Chile.