Historic Preservation

Historic Preservation Design Standards for Old Towne

In December 2017, City Council adopted an update to the Historic Preservation Design Standards for Old Towne. The Design Standards are architectural standards for alterations, additions, and new construction to help preserve the character of the Old Towne Historic Districts. Check out the update with all-new graphics and photographs here: Historic Preservation Design Standards for Old Towne

Old Towne Orange

Old Towne consists of three overlapping historic districts:
  • Plaza Historic District, listed in the National Register in 1972
  • Old Towne Orange Historic District, listed in the National Register in 1997
  • Old Towne Orange Historic District, listed at the local level in 1994
Together, these three historic districts represent the early history and development of Old Towne as an early twentieth commercial center, residential neighborhood, and citrus packing powerhouse. The historic districts include more than 1,300 historic homes and other buildings, which provide a feeling for life in Orange from 1888 to 1940.
Cypress Street Barrio
Old Towne Design Standards
Secretary’s Standards
Santa Fe Depot Specific Plan

Preservation Online

Mills Act Program

The Mills Act is a state law that permits cities to enter into agreements with owners of Qualified Historic Structures to preserve and maintain their properties.  Orange's Mills Act Program provides property tax reductions to owners who agree to rehabilitate and maintain their historic properties. The County Assessor re-assesses Program properties using a formula established by the Act that may result in a reduction in property taxes.
  • Mills Act Application
  • Mills Act handouts

National Parks S Rehabilitation Tax Credit

A 20% federal tax credit is available for rehabilitation of income-producing historic properties that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. This program is administered by the National Park Service. Click here for more information.

California Historical Building Code

Qualified historic properties may be able to use the California Historical Building Code to help preserve important features of the building.

Researching Your Historic Property

Want to know if your property is historic? Click here.
To access the Orange Public Library’s Local History Digital Collection click here.

Local History/Historic Preservation Groups

Old Towne Preservation Association
1888 Center
Orange Community Historical Society
Orange Barrio Historical Society

Preserving Your Historic Property

If your property is within the boundaries of the Old Towne historic districts, the Old Towne Design Standards apply to any changes to the exterior. 

Need assistance from a qualified historic preservation consultant?

Large projects involving historic properties may require a qualified historic preservation consultant who meets the Secretary of the Interior’s Professional Qualifications Standards. Please email our historic preservation planner if you need confirmation your consultant meets these standards.

The National Park Service provides guidance on how to preserve your historic property. Topics include everything from repairing wood windows to repointing the mortar in historic brick walls.
Want to know more about historic preservation at the state level? Contact the State Office of Historic Preservation for additional information.