Orange County, Virginia
|Orange County, Virginia|
Orange County Courthouse
Location in the state of Virginia
Virginia's location in the U.S.
|Named for||Prince William III of Orange|
343 sq mi (888 km²)
342 sq mi (886 km²)
2 sq mi (5 km²), 0.50%
76/sq mi (29.2/km²)
The area was inhabited for thousands of years by various cultures of indigenous peoples. At the time of European encounter, the Ontponea, a sub-group of the Siouan-speaking Manahoac tribe, lived in this Piedmont area.
The first European settlement in what was to become Orange County was Germanna, formed when Governor Alexander Spotswood settled 12 immigrant families from Westphalia, Germany there in 1714; a total of 42 people. Settlers established the legal entity of Orange County in 1734 from a portion of Spotsylvania County. Unlike other counties whose boundaries had ended at the Blue Ridge Mountains, Orange was conceived of as extending to the Mississippi River and Great Lakes. The colony of Virginia claimed the land, but very little of it had yet been occupied by any English. For this reason, some contend that Orange County was at one time the largest county that ever existed. This condition lasted only four years; in 1738 most of the western tract was split off into Augusta County.
Orange County was named for Prince William III of Orange, sovereign Prince of Orange of the House of Orange-Nassau by birth. From 1672 he governed as Stadtholder William III of Orange (Dutch: Willem III van Oranje) over Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland, and Overijssel of the Dutch Republic and at the same time Protestant King of Great Britain and Ireland. Founded by Ulster-Scots settlers in the 18th century. The family name of William of Orange was derived from the dynasty's ancestral origins as feudal lords of the French town of Orange, which was named by the ancient Gauls in honour of a Celtic water deity.
President James Madison's home, Montpelier, and the ruins of Virginia governor and U.S. Senator James Barbour's former home, Barboursville, are located in the county. Both are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. President Zachary Taylor was born here. During the Civil War, the Battle of the Wilderness took place in the County in May 1864. Portions of the battlefield are preserved as Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, established in 1927.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 343 square miles (889 km²), of which 342 square miles (885 km²) is land and 2 square miles (4 km²) (0.50%) is water.
Adjacent counties 
- Madison County - northwest
- Culpeper County - north
- Spotsylvania County - east
- Louisa County - south
- Albemarle County - southwest
- Greene County - west
Major highways 
As of the census of 2000, there were 25,881 people, 10,150 households, and 7,470 families residing in the county. By 2010 the population had increased 29% to 33,481 people. There were 14,616 housing units with a median price of $249,100. The racial makeup of the county was 82% White, 13% Black or African American, 0.20% Native American, 0.34% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.39% from other races, and 0.90% from two or more races. 3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 10,150 households out of which 29.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.70% were married couples living together, 10.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.40% were non-families. 22.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 2.90.
In the county, the population was spread out with 23.00% under the age of 18, 6.50% from 18 to 24, 27.80% from 25 to 44, 25.60% from 45 to 64, and 17.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 93.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.70 males.
The median income for a household in the county in 2010 was $54,916, and the median income for a family was $63,886. The per capita income for the county was $26,447. About 7% of families and 10% of the population were below the poverty line. Orange County had the 9th longest mean travel time to work (37 minutes) out of 132 Virginia localities polled.
- Gordonsville 8,133 residents as of 2010 (24% of county population)
- Orange 10,722 residents as of 2010 (32% of county population)
The county is served by Orange County Public Schools, whose superintendent is Dr. Robert P. Grimesey. The school board is represented by five elected officials, one from each district, whose terms run for three years.
The county is represented in the United States Congress by Representative Eric Cantor (R) in Virginia's 7th congressional district, by Bryce Reeves (R) in the 17th district of the Virginia State Senate, by Ed Scott (R) in the 30th district of the Virginia House of Delegates, and by the five person Orange County Board of Supervisors.
Coinciding with Wal-Mart's interest in Orange County, and the county's issuance of a special permit in 2009, the county reduced the amount of tax revenue collected annually through the merchants capital tax by 15% (11% in 2010, 2% in 2011, and 2% in 2012). In 2011 the county lost $599,690 in revenue provided by the federal government, and rather than adjust the annual budget, the board of supervisors in 2012 approved a 16% personal property tax increase to raise an additional $666,141 of revenue for the county.
Voter registration and information can be accessed through the Virginia State Board of Elections.
Development concerns 
In September 2008, Wal-Mart submitted a proposal to build a 141,000-square-foot (13,100 m2) Supercenter store less than one quarter mile from the National Park Service Boundary of the Wilderness Battlefield. It would be situated on a 52-acre (210,000 m2) tract just north of the Route 3/Route 20 intersection in Orange County. Preservation groups formed the Wilderness Battlefield Coalition to oppose the construction of this Wal-Mart, and argued it was likely to produce a significant increase in traffic and subsequent development.  With the approval of the County Board of Supervisors, Wal-Mart changed their plans in January 2011 and selected a site 4 miles west in the Germanna area of Locust Grove, the new store is scheduled to open in August 2013.
Arts and culture 
Museums and other points of interest 
The Wilderness Battlefield
The Battle of the Wilderness was fought in Orange County on May 5–6, 1864. The battle marked the first occasion legendary Generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee would face each other in battle. The fighting at the Wilderness was also the first battle in Grant's Overland Campaign that would ultimately lead to the fall of Richmond and Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.
Over 160,000 troops were engaged at the Wilderness in a bloody, see-saw, battle that saw both sides on the brink of destruction. When the guns fell silent on May 7, over 29,000 soldiers lay dead or wounded on the fields at the Wilderness, and Grant’s Union army was able to disengage and press on toward Richmond.
Today, the Battle of the Wilderness is a part of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, which has preserved 2,773 acres (11.22 km2) of the original battlefield. The park is closed on New Years Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Otherwise the park grounds are open from dawn to dusk on a daily basis.
The Ellwood Manor is the only surviving house that witnessed the Battle of the Wilderness in May 1864. During the battle Ellwood became a base of operations for the Union Army as Union General Ulysses S. Grant made his headquarters nearby. Ellwood would also play a role in the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863 when Confederate General Stonewall Jackson, who was wounded during the battle, had his arm amputated and buried in the family cemetery at Ellwood. Following the battle at Chancellorsville, Ellwood served as a Confederate hospital.
In 2008, Ellwood was named “Favorite Virginia Civil War Site” by the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative’s “Cooperative Living” magazine.
Doctor Holladay House
Formerly called the Doctor Holladay House, the Holladay House in Orange, Virginia (c.a. 1830) is on the nationally-recognized Journey Through Hallowed Ground. Named for Dr. Lewis Holladay, a prominent Virginia physician, the Holladay House has witnessed almost two centuries of American history. The building is historically significant because it is one of only a few antebellum structures still standing in Orange, Virginia.
Since approximately 1830, the Holladay House has served as a mercantile store, a residence, a doctor’s office, and a Virginia bed and breakfast inn. In the early 20th century, a private schoolhouse for local children was also on the property. Only a handful of proprietors have owned the home, and the Holladay family was its steward for over 100 years. The Holladay House still boasts much of its original woodwork, including floors, mantels, doors and period antiques from the Holladay family.
Now a Virginia bed and breakfast inn, the Holladay House is one of the two oldest standing structures in historic downtown Orange, and is registered with the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Orange Commercial Historic District. It has been a landmark on Main Street for generations.
The county is served locally by the Orange County Review a Media General owned weekly newspaper and regionally by the Fredericksburg, Virginia based The Free Lance Star. Radio station WVCV is licensed to Orange and the county is also served by radio stations in the Fredericksburg, Virginia and Charlottesville, Virginia radio markets.
Notable people 
- Nannie Helen Burroughs, African American educator, orator, religious leader and businesswoman
- Chris Haney, Major League Baseball pitcher
- Patrick Kilpatrick, actor
- Randolph Scott, western film actor
- James Taliaferro, former U.S. senator for Florida
- Zachery Taylor, 12th President of the United States
- James Barbour, the 18th Governor of Virginia, US Senator, and United States Secretary of War
- James Madison, the 4th President of the United States and "Father of the Constitution
- Lewis R. Bradley, second Governor of Nevada in the United States from 1871 to 1879; born in Orange County.
See also 
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Orange County, Virginia
- Orange Volunteer Fire Company
- "Orange County Virginia". Orange County Virginia. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
- . Weldon Cooper Center 2010 Census Count Retrieved September 9, 2011
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- Swanton, John R. (1952), The Indian Tribes of North America, Smithsonian Institution, pp. 61–62, ISBN 0-8063-1730-2, OCLC 52230544
- "Orange County Virginia". Orange County Virginia. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
- John Gwathmey, 1937, Twelve Virginia Counties p. 277.
- "American President: Zachary Taylor". Miller Center of Public Affairs. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Virginia, State of (1998-2009). "Virginia.gov - Education - Home Page". Retrieved 2009-05-30.
- Schools, Orange County Public. "Orange County Schools Office of the Superintendent". Retrieved 2009-05-30.
- Groups want to sidetrack Orange project - Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star
- "National Trust for Historic Preservation Commends Walmart’s Decision to Withdraw Plans for Supercenter at Wilderness Battlefield". PreservationNation. The Official Blog of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. January 26, 2011. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
- Ellwood named favorite Virginia Civil War site - Culpeper Star-Exponent
- "Nevada Governor Lewis Rice Bradley". National Governors Association. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Orange County, Virginia|
- Orange County official government site
- Orange County Historical Society
- Memorial Foundation of the Germanna Colonies in Virginia
- The Wilderness Battlefield Coalition - Help Stop the Wilderness Walmart
- City-Data.com Comprehensive Statistical Data and more about Orange County
||Madison County||Culpeper County|
|Greene County||Spotsylvania County|
|Albemarle County||Louisa County|