While today people recognise the Hotel Orange as the building on the corner of Summer and Peisley streets that has just gained a new owner, it is not the first hotel in town to carry that name.
In 1869 the other Hotel Orange began its life as Bendon's Family Hotel on the corner of Summer and Sale streets before becoming the Steam Engine Hotel within the next four years.
Orange and District Historical Society historians Euan Greer and Ross Maroney have compiled the history of railway-themed pubs in Orange.
However, they argued that this hotel, named four years before the railway came to Orange and well away from the railway line, has no railway link.
MAP: Where was the pub located …
Instead they said it was most likely named for being over the road from the Dalton brothers flour mill which was powered by a steam engine.
In the 1920s when the Tooths Brewery company was sending inspectors to Orange hotels and recording their findings on yellow cars that are now part of the Australian National University/Noel Butlin Archives Collection the pub was still known as the Steam Engine Hotel.
However, with the McAtmney family taking over as licensees in late 1926 the inspectors's card record the hotel as being named the Hotel Orange.
That name appears on the front of the hotel in all four of the brewery inspectors pub photos from 1925-1949 now in the Butlin archive.
A visit in 1930 received only a brief comment from the inspector.
"Top end of town, two-storey brick, fair appearance," is all he wrote.
In the early 1930s the building's owner J.J. McGirr was recorded as selling the lease to the Tooheys brewing company which then also spent 1600 pounds on the hotel.
A change of licensee to the Houlahan family in June 1941 saw the pub become known as Houlahan's Orange Hotel.
The cards record the pub stopped trading on November 21, 1965 when it was sold to the Shell oil company.
In 1967 Tooheys bought the licence with plans to move it to South Tamworth.
But it was the end for the Steam Engine Hotel building.
In the name of progress it was knocked down and replaced by a petrol station.
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