Old Towne District

The City of Orange Old Towne Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997, and includes more than 1,300 homes and other buildings.

It is approximately one square mile in size, making it the largest National Register District in California. The District provides a feeling for life in Orange from 1888 to 1940, showcasing over 50 different architectural styles. The complete stock of buildings which are a part of the Old Towne community include churches, schools, the old Santa Fe Depot, Post Office, packing houses, industrial buildings, clubhouses, and parks which still remain in active today.

We surveyed all pre-1940 buildings in 1982, and an update in 1992, and established expanded Local Historic District boundaries that include properties on the periphery of the National Register District.  This added areas that warrant preservation and conservation, even if they may not have met the criteria for National Register designation.

Historic Resource Inventory


National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) Listed Districts


  • Old Towne Orange Historic District (Established 1997) - Nomination Form and Nomination Photos
  • Plaza Historic District (Established 1982) - Nomination Form and Nomination Photos

Architectural Styles in Old Towne Orange


Old Towne Design Standards


We began the process of updating the Old Towne Design Standards in 2016, which included workshops to get feedback from the public. 

Preservation Tax Incentives for Historic Buildings


Under selected circumstances, expenses associated with the rehabilitation of historic properties may be taken as a tax deduction.

Building Preservation Resources


A number of technical guides have been developed by the National Park Service on proper approaches to preserving, rehabilitating and restoring historic buildings. These include:
  • Exterior building additions
  • Cleaning methods for building exteriors
  • Siding treatments for historic wood frame buildings
  • Wooden window maintenance
  • Exterior paint problems
  • Historic storefront rehabilitation
  • Masonry maintenance practices
  • Use of substitute materials