• The Orange County area was first settled in 1714, when Alexander Spotswood (Lt. Governor of Virginia from 1710 to 1722) established Germanna as an English frontier settlement for indentured German metalworkers and their families.
  • In 1734 the county was established and named in honor of William, Prince of Orange, and husband of Anne, Princess Royal of England. The Orange County’s boundaries at that time included territory that would later become Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia.
  • The county was also the birthplace of our twelfth president, Zachary Taylor in 1784. More than one site, including Montebello near Barboursville, claims to be the birthplace. Taylor’s descendants still live in the county today.
  • On January 1, 1840 the arrival of the train contributed to the areas growth.  Gordonsville became know at the “Fried Chicken Capital of the World” PDF Fried Chicken Capital
  • The arrival of the train sparked the need for a new courthouse which was built in 1858. Orange County Court House PDF
  • St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Caroline Street has a Tiffany stained-glass window. General Lee worshipped there when his army was quartered in Orange County during the winter of 1863-64. His pew remains there to this day. Mine Run Driving Tour
  • The towns of Orange and Gordonsville were incorporated in 1870 and 1872, respectively.Orange County was the home of our fourth president, James Madison.  He and his wife Dolley retired to Montpelier and lived there until his death in 1836.  Mrs Madison sold the property in 1844. The property is currently open for tours.
  • Gold was commercially mined in Orange until 1937. More than 6,000 troy ounces were exported in a peak year.
  • Main Street in Orange was the site of a Civil War cavalry battle known as the “Orange Courthouse Engagement.” Stonewall Jackson was in search of a federal “Army of Virginia.” Civil War Driving Tour PDF
  • The story goes that Orange County in California was named for Virginia’s Orange County by the winner in a poker game. The town of Orange was incorporated in 1872 and Orange County founded in 1734.
  • In 1888, one of Virginia’s worst railroad disasters occurred at the “Fat Nancy” Trestle west of the Town of Orange. Several involved were Civil War soldiers returning from a reunion in Gettysburg.
  • The predecessor of today’s CSX Railroad came through Orange in 1854. In 1880, the predecessor of today’s Norfolk Southern laid a parallel set of tracks through the town, thus making the county a major east coast rail corridor. During the early months of World WAR II, more than 100 freight and passenger trains passed through Orange each day.
  • The Civil War Museum at the Exchange Hotel in Gordonsville has served as a hotel, a Receiving Hospital for Confederate and Union troops, and the Freedman’s Bureau Hospital for newly freed slaves.
  • Gold was commercially mined in Orange until 1937. More than 6,000 troy ounces were exported in a peak year.
  • The train station sat idle for 17 years after Amtrak declined to designate it a “flag stop” in 1979. In 1998 it became the site for the Orange County Department of Tourism & Visitors Bureau.
  • Orange County is a primary a producer of grapes, and one of the major producers of wine in the state of Virginia.
  • Today, the population of Orange County is approximately 34,000 and many founders’ descendants still reside here.Orange County Visitor Guide PDF