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The Town of Orange is an industrial and population center on the eastern boundary of Franklin County. The town was established in 1810, but settlers had been using the water power of the Millers River for manufacturing since the damming of the river in 1790. The community is made up of sections of Athol, Warwick, Roylaston and a tract of land called Ervinshire. It was named for William, Prince of Orange. True to its industrial past, Orange was the site of the first automobile factory in the United States. The Historical Society maintains a 1904 Grout auto as an example of the kinds of cars built in Orange as well as a large pewter collection and antique musical instruments. Industrial products from Orange today include heavy machinery, precision tools, plastics and wood products. The Rodney Hunt Company, producing water control equipment, is one of the largest employers in Franklin County. Orange Airport Industrial Park provides a site for industrial expansion, while open lands offering camping and maple sugaring to visitors provide some rural character. In April, the annual River Rat Race brings hundreds of canoes and thousands of visitors to see winners cross the finish line in Orange. (Seal supplied by community. Narrative based on information provided by the Massachusetts Historical Commission)
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