- Town of Orange, NY
Town of Orange, NY
The Town of Orange is located in the southwest corner of Schuyler County. Orange shares its borders with Steuben County to the west and south, and the Towns of Tyrone and Reading to the north. It also shares its eastern border with the Town of Dix, except for a small southern portion that borders Chemung County. Orange has wide expanses of forested hills and agriculture lands. A majority of the Town’s forested land is made up of state designated parkland. In fact, over 56% of Orange is classified as a state forest or park. Despite the Town’s 2012 population of 1,668 residents being relatively average for the County, the combination of more land area (54.1 square miles) and a large amount of designated state forests (56% of land area) makes Orange one of the least dense towns in the County at 30 people per square mile, just above Cayuta. The abundance of designated state lands in the Town is a benefit for residents’ quality of life, but can also be a burden to Orange’s finances. With so much undevelopable land, the tax base is limited as growth can occur only on less than half of the Town’s total land area.
Henry Switzer and his wife Anna Marie Neff, with their family and two other individuals, first settled Orange in roughly 1802. The area they settled is still referred to as Switzer Hill. The first schoolhouse was established in 1825, and Orange was then officially formed in 1836. The Town got its name after Orange County, New York, which many of the early settlers originally moved from. The main hamlet in Orange today is known as Monterey. While another hamlet and state forest area, named Sugar Hill for the abundant maple trees in the area, is also well known by residents and visitors.
A review of the socioeconomic indicators for the Town of Orange reveals a very dynamic and diverse community. The Town has the second lowest median age in Schuyler County at 40.3 years. However, the overall population has aged more than twice as fast as the County over the past decade, with significant drops in younger age cohorts and rapid growth in the senior population. It also has the County’s highest rate of income inequality. While the Town’s median household income of $57,955 is more than 20% higher than the County average and is the second highest in the County, its rate of poverty is over 30% higher than the County average at 12%.
What is unique about Orange is the living experience provided by its location and culture. Orange is a small town with a strong community spirit. In the summer, tourists and residents can walk or ride horses along the Six Nations trail, once used by the Iroquois. In the winter, people can use those same trails and rural roads for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. It is important to the residents of Orange to create jobs by developing agriculture, exploring opportunities in the energy industry, and promoting tourism, all while maintaining the Town’s natural beauty.