Old Towne Orange Architecture: A Masterpiece of a City

Hello everyone! Welcome back to the blog! Thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing the love we have for Old Towne Orange every week. This summer, we have written about fitness, food, and more. Summertime in Old Towne Orange is our favorite, and it does not stop here. Over the past few weeks, we have been blogging about all of the art to see in Old Towne Orange. We found all of the best places to see fine art AND all of the events hosting live music and performance art this summer. There are so many musical events to be attending, you’ll be sure to find one for you. Click here to view the blog and here to see our events page.

And, above all of this, I think we forget the city we live in is a work of art in itself. Today, I will be taking you all on a small (and fun) history lesson about the historic architecture of Old Towne Orange, California. Let’s get started!

Bank of Orange - 1907

Let’s jump back to set the scene! In 1810, Orange was built on a ranch given by the King of Spain to Antonio Yorba and Juan Pablo Peralta. Later in the 1860s, part of the land was given to Alfred Chapman and Andrew Glassell as a payment for legal fees, as the men were both lawyers. Today, Chapman Avenue and Glassell Street intersect our famous OTO Plaza and streets around Old Towne, which are named after fruits, nuts, and trees (Maple, Lemon, Cypress, Walnut, Orange, etc). In the 1870’s, houses, drug stores, churches, and schools began construction and Old Towne Orange was born.

Orange Circle - 1890

Did you know the Old Towne Historic District contains over 1,300 historic buildings and homes? While you’re walking through this historic wonderland, you will be immersed in architecture that ranges from 1888 to 1940. With over 50 different styles of architecture including craftsman, Mediterranean, Spanish colonial, Victorian and more, it is a visual feast. Even in the neighborhood, you will find quite a range of homes - from a 500 square foot cottage to a 2-story brick craftsman home. Have you ever noticed how the interior of the Starbucks on the the Southwest corner of the Plaza still has wooden rafters? Take a look up at the buildings in OTO to see how many original structures remain intact. Old Towne offers a blast from the past unlike any other historic district in the state.

Orange Plaza 1968

And how does this historic city keep its charm to this day? The Old Towne Preservation Association (OTPA) was formed in 1985. From their website, it states, “Preserving this country's landscapes, historic buildings, various traditional and/or ethnic customs, tangible artifacts, important documents, and so forth, all make up a rich tapestry of our history as a people. By respecting and preserving this legacy we demonstrate a sensitivity to that history. It is a monument, in mind, body, and spirit by which will be judged by future generations.” We could not have said it better ourselves. 

Rochester Hotel - 1907

Next time you visit the circle, remember to look around and remember how OTO started and how it has grown. As new establishments pop up in our town, know that the integrity of the buildings are standing tall. I feel fortunate to be surrounded by the best art piece I have ever seen: Old Towne Orange, California.

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