The Orange Community Historical Society (OCHS) was founded in 1973 and serves as the focal point for those interested in the history of Orange and its surrounding area, the OCHS and its members contribute to many community activities by providing information about our heritage and by supplying written and photographic resources for those wishing to learn more about our legacy.


The mission of the Orange Community Historical Society is to commemorate the rich heritage of our community. Our purpose is to collect photographs, written materials and related ephemera, promote research, events, activities and programs celebrating Orange history, sponsor local history endeavors, and remain self-supporting through memberships, donation bequests and special projects. We welcome everyone.


In honor of Florence Flippen Smiley, an esteemed pioneer and founder of the society, the OCHS established the Florence Flippen Smiley Memorial Archives to encourage citizens to collect and preserve history, and to make available materials that document our area’s rich heritage. As the collection grew, Orange National Bank agreed to house this valuable collection in their plaza office. In 1988, the OCHS and the City of Orange collaborated to place the collection at the Orange Public Library & History Center, with increased accessibility to the public (407 E Chapman Ave, Orange, California).

The combined collections of the OCHS and the Orange Public Library & History Center, contain books, manuscripts, local newspapers, city and county directories, oral histories, Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for Orange, audio and video interviews and thousands of historical photographs. There are also topical files containing material on subjects such as early pioneers, family biographies, architecture, schools, civic organizations, religious organizations and businesses. The collection is available to the public for use in the library during library hours. We welcome donations of additional materials that enrich our knowledge of the community.

The Orange Community Historical Society is a nonprofit organization 501 (c) (3). A volunteer Board of Directors coordinates our ongoing activities. Besides presenting programs on historic topics, the OCHS has hosts historical tours, and participants in various community anniversary celebrations. Each year the Society presents the William T. Glassell Award to an individual or group that has contributed to preserving our local heritage. Over the years, OCHS has published historic post cards, posters, booklets and two collections of pioneer recollections. Currently, a beautiful historical afghan is offered as a collection piece, which was introduced in 1996 and continues to be in constant demand.

Take Action

Ready to take the next step? You can become a contributor to our cause, or participate yourself.

Find Out How →