In 1871, two attorneys found themselves in what is now known as the city of Orange. Wanting to create a prosperous—indeed rich—farming community, they deemed the city “Richland.” However, it turned out that a similarly named city already existed near Sacramento, so the two founders decided on Orange, a name that stuck and inspired the planting of the citrus groves that are now a signature of the region. Opening this fall, The Richland hotel pays homage to its home city’s roots by taking the original name of the town. Yet it’s also looking to the future, set to be a go-to destination for Southern California nearly weds.
Part of the 24 Carrots Collective of venues and situated in the heart of Orange Plaza on Maple Avenue, the boutique hotel and event space features two early-20th-century buildings: the main home, which is now the hotel; and a chapel, which has been converted into an events space. The original owners of the 1905 home hosted one of the first weddings on the property in 1914, for their niece, Hattie Estelle. It was a simple ceremony but one steeped in love—and one that, according to an article in The Orange Post, included “no unseemly demonstrations.” Now, the hotel invites couples to tie the knot in its 200-person Estelle Ballroom, named in honor of the first bride to say “I do” on the premises.
Extensive renovations of the original buildings began in 2021 with the goal of restoring the early-20th-century structures to their former glory. The house features a two-story, modified classic box floor plan, with a multi-hip and gable roof—which means it’s cozy with an understated elegance. Over the years, the original charm of the building was obscured by a storefront that was added in the 1960s. The architects of the hotel worked carefully to remove the addition and restore the original facade, ultimately discovering a stunning bay window that overlooks the welcoming front porch. Exterior stucco and wood siding were removed to reveal original wood shingles and lap siding, and original wood flooring in the main house has been refinished.
The hoteliers describe The Richland as a place to “stay and gather.” It is at once a homey place to recharge as well as a watering hole for socializing, inviting guests to come together and celebrate special moments in an
unusual and delightful atmosphere.