Introducing Old Towne Orange
Settlers began arriving en masse in Orange County after the Civil War, responding to the lure of cheap land and fertile fields. Rumor had it that almost anything could be grown in the rich soil, and many crops (such as oranges, apricots, corn, lemons, pumpkins, peaches and walnuts) did indeed thrive despite occasional irrigation and drought issues. Today the city of Orange, 7 miles southeast of Disneyland, retains its charming historical center. It was originally laid out by Alfred Chapman and Andrew Glassell, who in 1869 received the 1-sq-mile piece of real estate in lieu of legal fees. It became California’s only city laid out around a central plaza, making it pleasantly walkable, even in the 21st century. Antique hounds, SoCal nostalgia fans and food lovers needing to escape Anaheim will all find it worth a detour.