Orange Massachusetts, 1890
Orange is a sprightly manufacturing and farming town occupying the northeastern corner of Franklin County. It is 81 miles northwest of Boston on the Fitchburg Railroad, which follows Miller's River across the town, and has a station at Orange (centre) and one at Wendell, near West Orange. The township is very irregular, its greatest length being north and south. The assessed area is 20,261 acres. Warwick hounds it on the northwest, Royalston on the northeast, Athol on the east arid southeast, New Salem on the south, and Wendell and Erving on the west.
Tully River and Cheney, Orcutt's and Moss brooks, affluents of Miller's River, drain the north part of the town. North Pond, a fine sheet of water in the southern part of the town, is the source of the middle branch of Swift River. The basal rock is calcareous gneiss and granite, which often rises into bold and picturesque elevations, covered with soil well adapted to the growth of timber and for pasturage. Tully Mountain, in the northeastern part, rises to an altitude of 1,170 feet; and near on the south is Little Tully. In the valley between them are two beautiful ponds.
The wood products of this town are large, there being 5,423 acres of forest. Apples and strawberries are largely raised. The aggregate product of the 204 farms in 1885 was $193,861. There is a foundery here which has sometimes melted ten tons of iron in a day. The leading manufactures are sewing machines and other machinery, wheels, various builders' castings, cabinets and other furniture, woollen goods, leather, lumber, bricks, clothing, boots and shoes, and food preparations. The value of all goods made in the last State census year was $1,285,253. The Orange National Bank has a capital stock of $100,000; and the savings bank at the close of last year held deposits to the amount of $531,828. The population was 3,650, of whom 1,082 were legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $1,888,076, with a tax-rate of $14.40 on $1,000. The taxed dwelling-houses numbered 729.
There are a town-hall, a free public library of nearly 4,000 volumes, and 15 public schoolhouses, The latter are valued at about $30,000, Two weekly papers are published here — the "Enterprise" and the "Journal." There are two Congregational churches, two Universalist, one Baptist, one Methodist and one Roman Catholic.
This township was formed from parts of Athol, Royalston and Warwick, and established as the district of Orange, October 15, 1783; and was incorporated as the town of Orange, February 24, 1810. The first minister was the Rev. Emerson Foster, settled December 12, 1782. The first dam across Miller's River was built by James Holmes in 1790, upon which he erected a saw and grist mill. The post-offices are Orange (centre) and North Orange, The other villages are West Orange, Blissville, Fryeville and Furnace. Orange centre, with its bright, clustering cottages among pleasant gardens, rising from the banks of Miller's River, having the wooded and picturesque hills for a background, is seen to great advantage in the railroad approach from the east.
During the late war this town furnished its full quota of men for the field, and has since raised a soldiers' monument to the memory of those who fell.
pp. 524-525 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890