The Orange County Courthouse Circa 1850


Has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United State Department of the interior 1975.


The centerpiece of Orange County is the two-story courthouse, located in Paoli. The picturesque Greek Revival building boasts tall columns, white brick and chimneys. The treasured landmark was built in 1850 and has been featured in numerous magazines, including Life.




   I’ll never forget the first time I visited Paoli. Calling it a visit is a bit of a stretch, of course; I was just passing through, with a friend on the way to his southern Indiana home for a long weekend away from school. But I’d never encountered a town with a square before, and I’d never encountered a roundabout before. And that’s essentially how the streets on Paoli’s square function. There are four entry/exit points, but you must always turn right to enter and right to exit.


I didn’t know on that trip more than a quarter century ago that I was on the old Dixie Highway. A short refresher: a long stretch of the Dixie Highway south of Indianapolis became State Road 37, much of which was rerouted when it was upgraded to a divided four-lane highway in the 1960s. But about seven miles south of Bedford, at a town called Mitchell, the highway skinnies down to two lanes and resumes the Dixie’s original route all the way to Paoli and its square. Just think counterclockwise when you get there and you’ll do fine.


The point of having a square is usually so the county courthouse can be at its center, and Orange County makes no exception. This courthouse is striking, to the point of making you involuntarily say, “Whoa,” when you come upon it.



Jim Grey | Down the Road Blog

Courthouse History

Orange County’s first court was held in 1753 at the home of James Watson. In 1754 Hillsborough was established as the county seat, and the first courthouse of wood was built there the following year. A new brick building replaced the wooden one in 1782, and it burned in 1789.




The county government is a constitutional body granted specific powers by the Constitution of Indiana and the Indiana Code. The county council is the legislative branch of the county government and controls all spending and revenue collection. Representatives are elected from county districts.

© 2015-2020 by Orange County Indiana.

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