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 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 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.Learn more about City of Orange.