The City of Orange is a Township in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2021 United States Census, the township's population was 34,002.
Orange was originally incorporated as a township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on November 27, 1806, from portions of Newark, New Jersey. Portions of the township were taken on April 14, 1834, to form the now-defunct Clinton Township, Essex County, New Jersey. On January 31, 1860, Orange was reincorporated as a town. Portions of the town were taken to form South Orange Township (April 1, 1861, now known as Maplewood, New Jersey), Fairmount Township, New Jersey (March 11, 1862, now part of West Orange), East Orange, New Jersey (March 4, 1863) and West Orange, New Jersey (April 10, 1863). On April 3, 1872, Orange was reincorporated as a city. In 1982, the city was one of four Essex County municipalities to pass a referendum to become a township, joining 11 municipalities that had already made the change, of what would ultimately be more than a dozen Essex County municipalities to reclassify themselves as townships in order to take advantage of federal revenue sharing policies that allocated townships a greater share of government aid to municipalities on a per capita basis.
Despite the differences in the character of the municipalities, Orange is often joined with neighboring East Orange, New Jersey, South Orange, New Jersey and West Orange, New Jersey and referred to as part of "the Oranges". Signs on Interstate 280 often lump the township into a region known as "the Oranges," with Orange, East Orange and West Orange.
Orange had its origins in Connecticut's New Haven Colony. In 1666, a group of 30 of New Haven's families traveled by water to found "a town on the Passaic" River. They arrived on territory now encompassing Newark, New Jersey, the Oranges, and several other municipalities. The area was situated in the northeast portion of a land grant conveyed by King Charles II of England to his brother James, Duke of York. In 1664, James conveyed the land to two proprietors, Lord John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton and Sir George Carteret. Since Carteret had been Royal Governor of the Isle of Jersey, the territory became known as "New Jersey."
Orange was initially a part of the city of Newark, but it was originally known as "Newark Mountains". On June 7, 1780, the townspeople of Newark Mountains officially voted to adopt the name Orange. At the time, there was a significant number of people in favor of secession from Newark. However, this would not occur until November 27, 1806, when the territory now encompassing all of the Oranges was finally detached.
On April 13, 1807, the first government was elected, but not until March 13, 1860, was Orange officially incorporated as a city. Immediately, the new city began fragmenting into smaller communities, primarily because of local disputes about the costs of establishing paid police, fire, and street departments. South Orange, New Jersey was organized on January 26, 1861; Fairmount (later to become part of West Orange) on March 11, 1862; East Orange, New Jersey on March 4, 1863; and West Orange, New Jersey (including Fairmount) on March 14, 1863.
Orange is located on the New Jersey Route 10 Newark and Mount-Pleasant Turnpike, the main road from Newark to Morristown, New Jersey, and ultimately to Easton, Pennsylvania. The town became a busy thoroughfare for travelers, and hotels abounded. Initially, the stagecoach was the primary method of transportation. Omnibuses of the Eclipse and the Morris & Newark Lines serviced Orange.
The Morris and Essex Railroad arrived in Orange in November 1836, its first cars drawn by horses. On October 2, 1837, the first steam locomotive appeared, and the horses were, with minor exception, relegated to pasture. The "M&E" later became a part of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad (DL&W), which exists today as NJ Transit's Morristown Line.
Trolley cars appeared much later, with the Orange and Newark Horse Car Railroad Company running its first car up Main Street in May 1862. The Orange Crosstown Line, eventually extending from Morris Street, Orange, to Bloomfield, was started in June 1888. (The first electric trolley in the State of New Jersey operated over a section of this line.) Eventually, all of the trolleys, and the buses that replaced them, became part of the sprawling Public Service Coordinated Transport System.
Orange became an industrial city early in its history, with the tanning industry expanding rapidly after settlers found growths of tsuga|hemlock trees that would be a source for the tannic acid they needed, leading to the growth of many factories producing shoes and boots.
Orange was once the hat making capital of the United States. The industry can be traced there to 1792. By 1892, 21 firms were engaged in that trade, employing over 3,700 people in plants that produced about 4.8 million hats, which had a combined value in excess of $1 million (equivalent to $30.2 million in 2021). Several brothers founded the "No-Name Hat Company" in Orange before one of them moved on to make fedoras in Philadelphia under the family name, "Stetson." By 1921, however, only five hat making firms were left, many having departed for places such as Norwalk, Connecticut and Danbury, Connecticut.
Beer was a major industry in Orange beginning in the early 1900s, when the three Winter Brothers of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, arrived in the city and built the first brewery. The Orange Brewery was constructed in 1901 at a reported cost of $350,000 (equivalent to $11.4 million in 2021). The production of beer ceased with Prohibition in the United States in 1920, and after the repeal of the Volstead Act in 1933, the brewery was sold to John F. Trommers of Philadelphia. Trommers brewed beer under that label until 1950, when the concern was again sold to Liebmann Breweries, Incorporated, which bottled Rheingold Beer. Eventually, after passing through several other owners, the plant was closed permanently in 1977.
Other notable firms located in Orange were the Monroe Calculator Company, manufacturers of the patented adding machines of the same name, and the Bates Manufacturing Company, producers of office accessories such as staplers and stampers.
Today, Orange is a City of 34,000 residents and growing. The City is experiencing significant transformation of former industrial and vacant commercial properties into residential mixed-use redevelopment projects situated within walking distance to one of four New Jersey Transit Transit train stations that service Orange. This real estate development has increased property values and spurred new investment in the City. The addition of new businesses such as Wawa, Taco Bell, Four City Brewery and several cafes and eating establishments add to the current ongoing changes. Employment of new technological advances in crime fighting as well as continued vigilance of the men and women of the Orange Police Department have reduced crime in the City considerably over the last five years. Orange remains the home to several national and international businesses, including, Andrea's Foods, Metfab Metals, Lagniappe Foods, and Tryco Tool and Manufacturing Company. Orange is also known for restaurants, and hosts such renowned establishments as Libretti's, Bella Italia Ristorante, Appian Way and the Star Tavern - Would Famous Pizzeria.