In the days before tract homes, residential architecture showed great variety. Here are some broad categories; most had many variations and styles. Some homes combine elements from various styles, a reflection of the owner's tastes, or the builder's whims. Part of what gives these homes their charm is their individuality.
Settlement (Mostly Before 1910)
Simple in form and detail, these were some of the earliest homes in Orange. The smaller homes were often built with vertical board and batten walls. Sometimes there was a porch. Larger, two-story farmhouses might have a few Victorian details and clapboard siding. Most originally stood alone among orchards and fields.
Victorian (Popular, 1870-1900)
Known for their picturesque woodwork, steep roof lines, and ornate details, several Victorian styles were popular here including Eastlake, with its tall, vertical lines, and especially the Queen Anne, with its many decorative elements. Victorians demonstrated the increasing prosperity of the community. Many were large, but the style could also be adapted to smaller cottages.
Classical Revival (Most Popular, 1900-1910)
With their flowing lines, and columns borrowed from ancient Greek architecture, these homes became popular with the start of the new century. Many in Orange can be found on corners, with their curved porches wrapping around two sides. But they were soon passed in popularity by the Bungalow.
Bungalow (Most Popular, 1910-1920)
The first true California style, Bungalows grew out of the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 20th Century. The emphasis was on natural materials, simple woodwork, and sometimes stone pillars or porches. Most featured horizontal lines, and porches across the front. Inside was more woodwork, with built-in cabinets and hutches. Most were smaller, middle class homes. Plans, and even pre-cut kits could be bought through mail order houses such as Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward.
Craftsman (Popular in the 1920s and 1930s)
This style shares many of the naturalistic qualities of the Bungalows, but were larger, usually two stories, with expansive eaves and other details. Sometimes shingles replaced clapboards. They also displayed more individuality; there were no kits for Craftsmen homes.
Mediterranean (Popular in the 1920s and 1930s)
Another style first popularized in California, the various Mediterranean styles took their inspiration from the state's Spanish and Mexican past. They could range from simple stucco homes accented with a little tile, to grand hillside mansions with glazed brickwork and arches. Some variations were briefly popular in the 1920s, include the flat-roofed Pueblo style, and the Prairie style, with its horizontal eaves. The Mediterranean style survives today in a modern form in the stucco and tile of many tract homes.
Period Revivals (Most Popular in the 1920s)
Along with Mediterraneans, a variety of Old World and colonial styles became popular here after World War I. These included Colonial Revival, English Tudor, Cotswald Cottage, Dutch Revival, French Provincial, and whimsical storybook cottages.
Streamline Moderne (Most Popular in the 1930s)
This sleek, horizontal style, with its curved lines and glass brick, was never very popular in Orange, and only two examples remain - one residential, and one commercial.
Ranch Style (Most Popular in the 1950s)
Some of the last custom-built homes in Orange (before mass-produced tracts came to dominate the area) were built in this long, low, rustic style, which abandoned stucco for a return to natural woodwork - sometimes even a board and batten look.