The City of Orange is a township in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 30,134, reflecting a decline of 2,734 (-8.3%) from the 32,868 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 2,943 (+9.8%) from the 29,925 counted in the 1990 Census.
Orange was originally incorporated as a township by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on November 27, 1806, from portions of Newark Township. Portions of the township were taken on April 14, 1834, to form the now-defunct Clinton Township. 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), Fairmount (March 11, 1862, now part of West Orange), East Orange Township (March 4, 1863) and West Orange Township (April 10, 1863). On April 3, 1872, Orange was reincorporated as a city. In 1982, the name was changed to the "City of Orange Township" to take advantage of federal revenue sharing policies. Orange is often joined with neighboring East Orange, South Orange and West Orange and referred to as part of "the Oranges".
Orange had its origins in Connecticut's New Haven Colony. In 1666, barely three decades after settling there, 30 of New Haven's families took the perilous journey by water to found "a town on the Passayak" River. They arrived on territory now encompassing Newark, 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 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 was organized on January 26, 1861; Fairmount (later to become part of West Orange) on March 11, 1862; East Orange on March 4, 1863; and West Orange (including Fairmount) on March 14, 1863.
Orange is located on the Newark and Mount-Pleasant Turnpike, the main road from Newark to Morristown, 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 New Jersey 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 was an industrial city from the outset. Early settlers found a profuse growth of hemlock trees, an ideal supply of tannic acid for the tanning industry, and boot and shoemaking factories soon flourished.
Beer was a major revenue producer 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. The production of beer ceased with prohibition 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 several additional owners, the plant was closed permanently in 1977.
Other notable firms located in Orange were the Monroe Calculating 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. The United States Radium Corporation was a notorious resident of Orange. This firm refined ore and extracted the radium used to make luminous paint for dials and hands of watches and other indicators. It was only years later that the terrible carcinogenic effects of this material became known, and the polluted site of the factory became a thorn in the side of the city.
Orange has produced such notables as baseball's Monte Irvin and Heavyweight Boxer Tony Galento. Actor William Bendix lived and worked here for a short while. It was once the barmaking capital of the United States, as several brothers founded the "No-Name Hat Company," before one of them moved on to make fedoras in Philadelphia under the family name, "Stetson". Presidents, presidential candidates, and governors visited. Orange threw a grand party on its 100th anniversary, and another when it turned 150.
Once a multiethnic, economically diverse city, Orange suffered indirectly from the 1967 riots in Newark (even though Newark and Orange do not share a border) and directly from the construction of Interstate 280 through the heart of the downtown area, triggering middle-class "white flight" from aging industrial towns to the new automobile suburbs being built in western Essex County and elsewhere. By the end of the 1970s, Orange had many of the urban ills normally associated with larger cities.
In 1982, citizens voted overwhelmingly to change the designation of Orange from a city to a township, thereby making it eligible for federal Revenue Sharing funds. In 1985, the State of New Jersey named Orange as a State Urban Enterprise Zone, creating tax breaks and investment incentives.