The first European settlement in Indiana was established by the French in 1732 at Vincennes, in the southwestern part of the state.

Orange County, Indiana has a rich and diverse history that dates back to the early 19th century. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Miami and Potawatomi, who lived off the land and used the rivers for transportation and trade. European settlers began moving to the area in the early 1800s, establishing small communities and farms.

The county was officially formed in 1816, making it one of the oldest counties in the state of Indiana. It was named after the orange hue of the local soil, which was unusual for the region. The early economy of Orange County revolved around agriculture, with crops such as corn, wheat, and tobacco being the mainstay of the local farmers.

The discovery of mineral springs in the late 19th century brought tourism and a new industry to Orange County. Visitors flocked to the area to experience the healing properties of the springs, leading to the establishment of numerous hotels and resorts. This development brought prosperity and growth to the county, and the towns of French Lick and West Baden Springs became popular tourist destinations.

During the early 20th century, Orange County faced economic challenges due to the decline of mineral springs as a tourist attraction. However, the construction of the West Baden Springs Hotel in 1902 revitalized the tourism industry, making it one of the most luxurious resorts in the world. Today, Orange County continues to be a popular tourist destination, known for its rich history, charming towns, and beautiful natural landscapes.

  • 1816 - Orange County, Indiana is established as part of the Indiana Territory.
  • 1817 - Paoli is selected as the county seat.
  • 1830 - Population of Orange County reaches 5,046.
  • 1859 - The first railroad, Southern Railway, is constructed in Orange County.
  • 1863 - During the American Civil War, Paoli is the site of the Battle of Paoli, a minor engagement.
  • 1900 - The population of Orange County peaks at 18,946.
  • 1911 - West Baden Springs Hotel, a luxurious resort and spa, opens in West Baden Springs.
  • 1920s - Prohibition negatively affects the spa industry in Orange County.
  • 2004 - Orange County approves the construction of the French Lick Resort Casino, reviving the tourism industry.
  • 2010 - The population of Orange County stands at 19,840.