The Paugusset, an Algonquian people, once lived in the area that is now Orange. In 1639, the Rev. Peter Prudden purchased the land from the Indians for six coats, ten blankets, one kettle, twelve hatchets, twelve hoes, two dozen knives and a dozen small mirrors. When originally settled by English colonists, Orange was simply the northern and eastern district of the now neighboring city of Milford; however, by 1822, the population of the area had grown to the point where residents desired to form their own separate community, thus forming the town of Orange.
The town is named after King William III, "Prince of Orange". William is remembered for succeeding James II, deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. James II had been considered a despot in Connecticut; he had famously and unsuccessfully commissioned Edmund Andros to seize Connecticut's Charter.
The town continued to grow throughout the 19th century. As early as 1848, a separation of Orange and West Haven was considered. It was not until 1921 that the two were officially separated by act of the Connecticut General Assembly and the new city of West Haven was formed out of the southeastern portion of Orange. This gave the remnant town of Orange a very rural feel, as the bulk of the urbanized population was ceded to West Haven. In the post-war years, however, Orange began suburbanizing at a rapid pace.
Early roads through the area included the Boston Post Road (now U.S. Route 1) and the Derby Turnpike (now Connecticut Route 34). The turnpike was originally an Indian path. A toll road through Orange, from New Haven to Derby, was built starting in 1800. The toll house was located in Orange; tolls ended in 1887. The New Haven and Derby Railroad ran through Orange starting in 1871, with a station in Orange. At its peak, there were eleven trains per day in each direction along with one freight train. The advent of a trolley from New Haven to Derby (starting in 1904 and running until 1937) hastened the end to rail service (in 1925). Later, the construction of the Wilbur Cross Parkway and Interstate 95 brought highways through the area.
On the National Register of Historic Places