Some historians think this is a ghost kind of is, but I feel it's more of a shadow town. There is only one building remaining – an empty old 1800s-type storefront, abandoned and deteriorating. Even so, it's a cool thing to see when you drive through.

Orange is in Ionia County's Orange Township, sitting along M-66. Aside from the old storefront, there are the usual homes up and down this country road, and at the north end of town – on the corner of M-66 and Bennett Road – is an empty space where an old rustic church used to stand. Pictures of the church can be seen in the gallery below.

The first settler here was Selah Arms in 1835. When Dean Taylor arrived, the township was organized at his home in 1845. Taylor decided to name the township and the village 'Orange' for one specific reason: he thought it sounded simply pleasant.
Well, tasty at least.

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According to History of Ionia & Montcalm Counties, Michigan (published in 1881) via, “At this time the present town contained no road, save, perhaps, an Indian trail, was densely timbered in every part, and was, in short, a wide wilderness, inhabited by wild beasts and resounding with the cries of wolves by night and by day.”

No railroad was forthcoming so the village was destined not to grow to the desired extent. A post office arrived in 1858 and closed in 1904. There was also a blacksmith shop and store – now all three are gone. It's written in the above-mentioned tome that there were numerous roadside inns and a saloon coming from and going to Orange...but none still exist.

The gallery below shows that one single storefront that remains lonely and abandoned along M-66 in Orange.

The Shadow Town of Orange in Ionia County


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