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Orange County, Indiana

Orange County, Indiana
The Orange County courthouse in Paoli
Map of Indiana highlighting Orange County
Location in the state of Indiana
Map of the United States highlighting Indiana
Indiana's location in the U.S.
Founded 1816
Seat Paoli
Largest town Paoli
 • Total 408.19 sq mi (1,057 km2)
 • Land 398.39 sq mi (1,032 km2)
 • Water 9.80 sq mi (25 km2), 2.40%
 • (2010) 19,840
 • Density 50/sq mi (19.17/km²)
Congressional district 9th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Footnotes: Indiana county number 59

Orange County is located in southern Indiana in the United States. As of 2010, its population was 19,840, an increase of 2.8% from 19,306 in 2000.[1] The county seat is Paoli.[2] The county has four incorporated settlements with a total population of about 8,600,[3] as well as several small unincorporated communities. It is divided into 10 townships which provide local services.[4][5] One U.S. route and five Indiana state roads pass through or into the county.[6]


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Transportation 3
  • Climate and weather 4
  • Government 5
  • Demographics 6
  • Education 7
  • See also 8
  • Notes 9
  • References 10
  • Bibliography 11
  • External links 12


Orange County was formed from parts of Knox, Gibson and Washington Counties by an act approved on December 26, 1815; it took effect on February 1, 1816. The same year, the county seat was established in Paoli, which was named after Pasquale Paoli Ash, the 12-year-old son of the Governor, at the time, of North Carolina .[7]

The first courthouse was a temporary log structure that was built for $25; a more permanent structure of stone was completed in 1819 at a cost of $3,950.[n 1] [9] In 1847, plans were made for a new larger courthouse, which was completed in 1850 at a cost of $14,000.[n 2] This building is the second oldest courthouse in the state that has been continuously used since its construction. Like the oldest in Ohio County, it is a Greek Revival building with two stories and a Doric portico supported by fluted columns; it has ornamental iron stairs and a clock tower. In 1970, the clock tower was damaged by fire.[10]

The early settlers were mostly Quakers fleeing the institution of slavery in Orange County, North Carolina. Jonathan Lindley brought his group of Quakers from North Carolina to the area in 1811. Under Lindley’s leadership, they were the first to build a religious structure, the Lick Creek Meeting House in 1813. It was from this group that Orange County got its name.[11][12] (See List of Indiana county name etymologies). The name Orange derives from the Dutch Protestant House of Orange, which acquired the English throne with the accession of King William III in 1689, following the Glorious Revolution.

In the early 19th century when the Quakers came from North Carolina to settle in Orange County, Indiana, they came to escape slavery. They brought with them a number of freed slaves. These free men were deeded 200 acres (0.81 km2) of land in the heart of a dense forest. Word of mouth soon spread the news, and this land became part of the "underground railroad" for runaway slaves.

For many years, the freed slaves in this area farmed, traded, and sold their labor to others while living in this settlement. A church was built and a cemetery was provided for their loved ones.

All that remains today is the cemetery. Some of the stones were broken or vandalized over the years. Several years ago, a troop of Boy Scouts came in and restored the cemetery, replacing the lost or broken stones with wooden crosses designating a grave. The name of "Little Africa" came about because of the black settlement, but "Paddy's Garden" was the name those early residents called it.


Map of Orange County, showing townships and settlements

Orange County is located in the south part of the state. It is bordered by Lawrence County to the north; Martin and Dubois counties to the west; Crawford County to the south; and Washington County to the east. According to the 2010 census, the county has a total area of 408.19 square miles (1,057.2 km2), of which 398.39 square miles (1,031.8 km2) (or 97.60%) is land and 9.80 square miles (25.4 km2) (or 2.40%) is water.[13]

Orange County contains four incorporated settlements. The largest is the county seat of Paoli, which lies near the center of the county. To the north of Paoli lies Orleans. To the west, French Lick and West Baden Springs are connected but are separate entities.

There are several small unincorporated settlements in the county. Chambersburg lies along U.S. Route 150 about 4 miles (6.4 km) southeast of Paoli. To the east of Orleans in the northeast corner of the county is the town of Leipsic. Prospect is on U.S. Route 150 just north of West Baden Springs. Orangeville is northwest of Paoli, near the center of Orangeville Township. In the southeast corner of the county, Valeene lies near the center of Southeast Township.

Hoosier National Forest in Jackson Township

Much of the south part of the county, south of Paoli and French Lick, is part of the Hoosier National Forest. Patoka Lake is within the national forest; the majority of the lake lies in Orange County, with parts extending into neighboring Dubois and Crawford counties.

The county is divided into 10 townships:


U.S. Route 150 crosses Orange County, entering from Martin County to the west; it passes just to the north of West Baden Springs and on through Paoli, continuing somewhat to the southeast and passing into Washington County and Hardinsburg to the east.[14]

Climate and weather

Paoli, Indiana
Climate chart ()
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: The Weather Channel[15]

In recent years, average temperatures in Paoli have ranged from a low of 18 °F (−8 °C) in January to a high of 87 °F (31 °C) in July, although a record low of −29 °F (−34 °C) was recorded in January 1994 and a record high of 111 °F (44 °C) was recorded in July 1901. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 2.90 inches (74 mm) in October to 5.14 inches (131 mm) in May.[15]


The county government is a constitutional body granted specific powers by the Constitution of Indiana and the Indiana Code. The county council is the legislative branch of the county government and controls all spending and revenue collection. Representatives are elected from county districts. The council members serve four-year terms and are responsible for setting salaries, the annual budget and special spending. The council also has limited authority to impose local taxes, in the form of an income and property tax that is subject to state level approval, excise taxes and service taxes.[16][17]

The executive body of the county is made of a board of commissioners. The commissioners are elected county-wide, in staggered terms, and each serves a four-year term. One of the commissioners, typically the most senior, serves as president. The commissioners are charged with executing the acts legislated by the council, collecting revenue and managing day-to-day functions of the county government.[16][17]

The county maintains a small claims court that can handle some civil cases. The judge on the court is elected to a term of four years and must be a member of the Indiana Bar Association. The judge is assisted by a constable who is elected to a four-year term. In some cases, court decisions can be appealed to the state level circuit court.[17]

The county has several other elected offices, including sheriff, coroner, auditor, treasurer, recorder, surveyor and circuit court clerk. Each of these elected officers serves a term of four years and oversees a different part of county government. Members elected to county government positions are required to declare party affiliations and be residents of the county.[17]

Each of the townships has a trustee who administers rural fire protection and ambulance service, provides poor relief and manages cemetery care, among other duties.[5] The trustee is assisted in these duties by a three-member township board. The trustees and board members are elected to four-year terms.[18]

Orange County is part of Indiana's 9th congressional district and is represented in Congress by Republican Todd Young.[19] It is part of Indiana Senate districts 44 and 48[20] and Indiana House of Representatives district 62.[21]


The Orange County Courthouse in the center of the Paoli, Indiana town square

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 19,840 people, 7,872 households, and 5,416 families residing in the county.[27] The population density was 49.8 inhabitants per square mile (19.2/km2). There were 9,176 housing units at an average density of 23.0 per square mile (8.9/km2).[13] The racial makeup of the county was 97.0% white, 0.9% black or African American, 0.3% Asian, 0.3% American Indian, 0.3% from other races, and 1.2% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 1.0% of the population.[27] In terms of ancestry, 18.8% were German, 12.4% were Irish, 12.1% were American, and 9.7% were English.[28]

Of the 7,872 households, 32.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.4% were married couples living together, 10.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 31.2% were non-families, and 26.7% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.00. The median age was 40.8 years.[27]

The median income for a household in the county was $47,697 and the median income for a family was $45,874. Males had a median income of $35,679 versus $30,072 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,119. About 13.5% of families and 20.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.7% of those under age 18 and 14.7% of those age 65 or over.[29]


The county is served by 4 school districts:[30]

  • Lost River Career Cooperative
  • Orleans Community Schools
  • Paoli Community School Corporation
  • Springs Valley Community School Corporation.

Orleans Community Schools (Superintendent:Gary McClintic[31]) includes:[31]

  • Orleans Elementary School (Principal: Christopher Stevens[31])
  • Orleans Jr./Sr. High School (Principal: Roy Kline[31]).

Paoli Community Schools (Superintendent:Casey Brewster)includes:

  • Throop Elementary School (Principal:Sharon R. Tucker)
  • Paoli Jr./Sr. High School (Principal:Todd Hitchcock).

Springs Valley School Corporation (Superintendent: Todd Pritchett) includes:

  • Springs Valley Elementary School (Principal:Tony Whitaker)
  • Springs Valley Jr./Sr. High School (Principal: Troy Pritchett)

See also


  1. ^ A $3,950 capital expense in 1816 would be roughly equivalent to $2,000,000 in 2010.[8]
  2. ^ A $14,000 capital expense in 1850 would be roughly equivalent to $6,000,000 in 2010.[8]


  1. ^ a b "Orange County QuickFacts".  
  2. ^ "Find a County – Orange County, IN". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  3. ^ "Orange County, Indiana – County Subdivision and Place. GCT-PH1. Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2000".  
  4. ^ "Orange". Indiana Township Association. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  5. ^ a b "Duties". United Township Association of Indiana. Retrieved 2011-01-06. 
  6. ^ "Indiana Transportation Map 2009–2010" (PDF). Indiana Department of Transportation. 2009. Retrieved 2010-12-16. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b Williamson, Samuel H. (April 2010). Seven Ways to Compute the Relative Value of a U.S. Dollar Amount, 1774 to present. MeasuringWorth. Calculations made using Nominal GDP Per Capita, a measure of capital intensivity, using "the 'average' per-person output of the economy in the prices of the current year." This is a measure of the amount of capital and volume of labor required to reproduce the work over varying production methods, but assuming that money represents a proportion of the economy.
  9. ^ Goodspeed 1884, pp. 421–423.
  10. ^ Counts, Will; Jon Dilts (1991). The 92 Magnificent Indiana Courthouses. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. pp. 124–5.  
  11. ^ "Orange County Indiana Genealogy Trails". 
  12. ^ De Witt Clinton Goodrich & Charles Richard Tuttle (1875). An Illustrated History of the State of Indiana. Indiana: R. S. Peale & co. p. 569. 
  13. ^ a b "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County".  
  14. ^ "U.S. Route 150". Highway Explorer. Retrieved 2011-12-11. 
  15. ^ a b "Monthly Averages for Paoli, Indiana". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  16. ^ a b  
  17. ^ a b c d  
  18. ^ "Government". United Township Association of Indiana. Retrieved 2011-01-06. 
  19. ^ "Congressman Baron Hill". House.Gov. Retrieved 2008-09-12. 
  20. ^ "Indiana Senate Districts". State of Indiana. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  21. ^ "Indiana House Districts". State of Indiana. Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  22. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  23. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 
  27. ^ a b c "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data".  
  28. ^ "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates".  
  29. ^ "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates".  
  30. ^ Education, Indiana Department of. "Indiana K-12 School Web Sites". Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  31. ^ a b c d Schools, Orleans Community (2009-05-18). "Welcome to Orleans Community Schools - The Time Is: Current UTC is 05:30". Retrieved 2009-05-29. 


  • Goodspeed, Weston A.; Goodspeed, Leroy C.; Goodspeed, Charles L. (1884). "Part III: Orange County". History of Lawrence, Orange and Washington Counties, Indiana. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers and Company, Publishers. 

External links

  • Official Orange County, Indiana Website
  • Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau

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