Warmer weather, fresh blooms, new restaurants, and Orange County moving into the less restrictive orange tier — spring has finally arrived in Old Towne Orange. As more people are venturing to restaurants and spending more time outside, there will be more opportunities to explore our historical plaza’s charming quirks.
We’ve created a printable OTO Spring Scavenger Hunt for you and your kids to discover more things to love about our community! Continue to scroll to access the scavenger hunt list and get to know more about the history of Orange Plaza Park.
The Play Saves the Day
For Orange County natives, it is hard to imagine OTO without the historic “circle” or “plaza.” However, there was a time when it almost didn’t exist! In 1833, a group of women decided that the plaza’s land would be better suited as a park for the community. The towne’s men opposed the idea as they would have had to reroute their buggies and wagons. Nevertheless, led by Mrs. Samuel Armor, wife of a city councilman and former county supervisor, the women persisted!
Through dinners, fundraisers, and the very successful play titled “The Plaza,” they were able to raise enough money and support for the park and the original metal fountain (since relocated to the Orange Public Library to make room for the refurbished fountain installed in the 1930s). Besides being financially rewarding, the play also received a stellar review from the Orange Tribune in 1887. You can read it here!
The Time Capsule
If you’ve spent some time in Plaza Park, you might have noticed a time capsule located in the southwest corner of the park. I was curious to find out what’s in it and I didn’t want to wait until 2073. Here’s what I found out: in 1973, residents of Orange buried artifacts from life in the towne at the time, including footage of the first International Street Fair, as well as footage from the dedication of the time capsule. That’s all late local historian, Phil Brigandi, would dish to The Orange County Register. Any guesses as to what people chose to represent the times?
My favorite thing about Old Towne Orange is that it’s filled with so much history that it feels like there’s always more to learn. Have fun exploring the park and all of its beauty!