The city of Orange is located in Orange County, California. It is approximately 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) north of the county seat, Santa Ana. Orange is unusual in that many of the homes in its Old Town District were built prior to 1920; whereas many other cities in the region demolished such houses in the 1960s, Orange decided to preserve them. The small affluent city of Villa Park is surrounded by the city of Orange. The population was 136,416 at the 2010 census.
The town experienced its first growth spurt during the last decade of the 19th century (as did many of the surrounding communities), thanks to ever-increasing demands for California-grown citrus fruits, a period some refer to as the “Orange Era.” Southern California’s real estate “boom” of 1886-1888, fueled by railroad rate wars, also contributed to a marked increase in population. Like most cities in Orange County, agriculture formed the backbone of the local economy, and growth thereafter was slow and steady until the 1950s, when a second real estate boom spurred development. Inspired by the development of a region-wide freeway system which connected Los Angeles’ urban center with outlying areas like Orange, large tracts of housing were developed from the 1950s to the early 1970s, and this continues today, albeit at a much slower pace, at the eastern edge of the city.