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Orange Town


Orange Town Hall is located at 119 Belleview Avenue, Orange, VA 22960; phone: 540-672-5005.

Beginnings [1]

In 1749, when the present-day boundaries of Orange County were established, the meeting place of the county court was moved to Timothy Crosthwaite's Tavern, alongside Swift Run Gap Highway, midway between the eastern and western boundaries of the County. A village, called Orange Courthouse, began to grow up around the new courthouse. With county citizens drawn regularly to the courthouse, merchants seeking to buy the produce of county farms and forests and to supply the needs of Orange County folk established businesses around the courthouse. Religious and cultural and recreational facilities also put down their roots in the village. In 1872, the citizens of the village secured a Town charter, legally becoming the Town of Orange. In succeeding years, the Town has thrived as an important market center as it has continued in its original role as the administrative, legislative, and judicial heart of Orange County.

The Town of Orange and surrounding vicinity possess several unique and important cultural resources as evidenced by the number of properties listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and on the National Register of Historic Places. Orange Commercial Historic District was listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register in 1998 and on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.

Two surveys conducted by students from the Mary Washington College Department of Historic Preservation in 2000 and 2001 suggest that three residential areas of the Town have the architectural integrity and the cultural significance to make them eligible for inclusion on the state and national registers. The recommended areas include Orange's first subdivision, Marshall Heights; the Mill Street area, and the Lindsay Drive-Bowler Lane subdivision.

There are three other recognized historic districts located in close proximity to the Town, the Rapidan Historic District, the Madison-Barbour Historic District, and the Gordonsville Historic District. These districts contain a variety of historic, cultural, and architectural resources, and represent important community attractions. Of special significance is James Madison's Montpelier, a designated National Historic Landmark located approximately four miles west of the Town limits on Virginia Route 20. The Montpelier estate is undergoing extensive restoration and is rapidly developing as a heritage visitor attraction and an increasingly rich resource in bringing visitor dollars into the community.

  1. Town of Orange, Comprehensive Plan: 2006-2026, www.townoforangeva.com, accessed September, 2011.
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