Originally the area, we now call Orange was inhabited by Native Americans called Gabriellos by the Spaniards.
It took two years to sort out the complicated relationships among the families and to determine how much each one owned. The rancho was divided into 1000 units parceled out to the heirs and to the claimants in the lawsuit.
Two Los Angeles lawyers involved in the lawsuit were Alfred Beck Chapman and Andrew Glassell, who took some of their fees in land. The two men had already started buying other sections of the rancho as early as 1864. By 1870, they owned about 5400 acres in what is now downtown Orange. It seemed like a good place for a town, as the Santa Ana River was nearby and promised water, the soil was rich and a stage ran nearby. Chapman hired a surveyor to divide the land with tracts of 40, 80 and 120 acres. He called the area Richland and began selling the lots.
Chapman liked to call himself the "father of Orange." The development of the city was actually guided by Capt. William T. Glassell, Andrew Glassell's brother. He laid out the downtown area with Chapman and Glassell streets meeting in a central "Public Plaza." Captain Glassell's home and office on the west side of the Plaza Square was the first building Richland.
The captain also supervised the construction of the A.B. Chapman Canal from the Santa Ana River to provide irrigation for the farm site. He was a good salesman, and by the end of 1871 there were a dozen houses in and around Richland. The first school was opened on March 26, 1872 in a private home. By August, a one room schoolhouse was opened at the corner of Sycamore and Lemon. In 1873, the first local store was opened, the first civic organization was formed and the first church congregation was formed.
In 1873, Richland's application for a post office was refused, because there was already a Richland in Sacramento County. In order to have their town map recorded and to open a post office, they had to change their name. According to a story, Mr. Chapman, Mr. Glassell and two ther men played a game of poker and whoever won the game got to choose the new name of the town. No one knows who won the game, but in January, 1875, Richland was renamed Orange.
Old sign on the side of a brick building.
The town of Orange began as a farming community, even though it took some years for settlers to discover crops that were successful. The first crops were barley, oats, wheat corn and rye. Many of the farmers planted grape vines, primarily for raisins. In 1886, blight killed thousands of vines in Orange and surrounding communities. In 1873, the farmers began planting orange groves. They had tried other tropical plants without much success.
In 1880, the Southern Pacific Railroad built a depot in Orange. Seven years later the Santa Fe Railroad extended a line into town and the two competing railroads dropped their passenger fares to customers.
The 1880's were boom times for Orange. To help attract tourists, promotional flyers were sent out across the country and three hotels were built in the downtown area. New subdivisions and town sites were offered for sale. Two local newspapers were founded. The first public library was opened in 1885. Asphalt sidewalks and gas street lights were added to the downtown and two streetcar lines began operating. The towns's first bank, the Bank of Orange was organized in 1886. that same year a circular park with a fountain was set up in the middle of the Plaza.
This information was taken from Wikipedia.
St. John's Lutheran Church was founded in 1882 and its sanctuary was built in 1913-1914. The church was designed by architect Frederick Eley in the Gothic Revival style. The church's distinctive features are sixteen stained glass panels depicting biblical scenes. The building is in the National Register of Historic Places.
This is the Royer Mansion and the information was taken from Haunted Orange Co.
The Royer Mansion was home to one of the early pioneers in the City of Orange, Dr. Daniel Franklin Royer. Dr. Royer died in 1929 and the Mansion was purchased in the early 1980's by Real Estate Developer and owner of Secrest Construction, Gene Secrest and his wife Chamella. The home had been used as a mortuary prior to the purchase by the Secrest's. The Secrest's extensively renovated the mansion.
The grand ballroom on the first floor served as the funeral home's viewing room and was transferred into 11 semi-private office spaces divided by heavy oak partitions.
The basement was formerly a casket showroom. There is now an old English pub with a bar that was used for dining and entertaining. The area where the pub now exists housed a "cold storage" vault where bodies were stored. Secrest placed the vault under the front porch. The basement also has a mens and womens locker room with showers. There was a workout room that has been converted into an office. The northeast corner of the office has a concealed door that opens into a hidden area of the basement designed with a rock wall features to look like a cave. Upon entering the door, the entry area branches out to the left into another rocky cave room with jacuzzi built into the ground. The jacuzzi has been boarded shut by the City of Orange. As you continue on through the cave feature, it take you into a brick lined wine cellar framed by a richly, carved, arched walnut confessional door from Austria. The opposite end of the wine cellar leads to a narrow stairway, which leads to a ground level exit, which can be seen at the back of the Mansion.
This is the Wells Fargo bank building, which also has a Starbucks in it and there is a plaque on the exterior of the bank that states the First National Bank of Orange was incorporated in 1906.