About Orange County
Nestled in the hills of the North Carolina Piedmont, Orange County is located between the Research Triangle Park and the Triad cities of Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point. With more than 140,000 residents, Orange County includes historic Hillsborough, the county seat; Chapel Hill, home of the University of North Carolina; and Carrboro and Mebane, former railroad and mill towns.
When Orange County was founded in 1752, five Native American tribes were already living in this area. Two years later, William Churton laid out the boundaries of Hillsborough on land where the Great Indian Trading Path crossed the Eno River.
Center of North Carolina Politics
Hillsborough was the center of North Carolina politics in the colonial era and hosted the state's Constitutional Convention in 1778, where North Carolina delegates demanded that a Bill of Rights be added before they would ratify the U.S. Constitution.
University of North Carolina
In 1789, the North Carolina General Assembly chartered the University of North Carolina, the nation's first state university to admit undergraduates. UNC-Chapel Hill is the flagship campus of a 16-member state university system and is consistently rated as one of the country's finest state institutions of higher learning.
Orange County lies on the western edge of the Research Triangle. This area includes several institutions of higher learning, such as:
- Duke University
- Durham Technical Community College
- North Carolina Central University
- North Carolina State University
- UNC-Chapel Hill
At the region's center is Research Triangle Park, home to leading technological companies and federal research institutions, including:
- National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
- RTI International
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
The County encompasses 400 square miles of rolling farms and forest, vital urban centers and small towns. Orange County combines the best of cosmopolitan and rural values with an abundance of historical, social and cultural resources.
Orange County Government has worked hard to meet the varied needs of its residents. We encourage the active involvement and participation of our residents. More than 30 boards and commissions, made up of citizen volunteers, advise the seven-member Board of County Commissioners on policy development, planning decisions and county programs.
The government provides strong support for quality public education and services ranging from animal control to zoning.
County administration ensures that all departments work together in providing all possible services. Award-winning programs in child support enforcement, watershed protection and solid waste management are examples of the Orange County initiatives that better serve our residents, prepare for the future and fulfill our commitment to caring, inclusive government.
It is our residents who make Orange County such a special place to live, work and play. And it's the diversity of our people that makes the county interesting and lively:
- Carpenters and students
- Dairy farmers and professors
- Developers and horse breeders
- Small business people and corporate executives
Orange County displays a warmth and genuine friendliness that quickly turns neighbors into friends.
Strong & Vital Community
It is the residents and government of Orange County, working together, who have built a strong and vital community that is serving today's needs while planning for the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow.