In 1956 High Plains School opened with 20 classrooms. Mrs. Jeannette Brown was principal. The Orange Center School was renamed in honor of its principal, Miss Mary L. Tracy. A year later Brendan Tuohy was appointed superintendent.
Public Library Opens
With all of these new schools and classrooms, several people in town felt that a public library would fill a great need. In 1955 the Orange Public Library was incorporated and the papers were signed by Everett Martin, William L. DeSenti, Frank Merkel and Roger Boyd. Everett Martin served as the first chairman of the Orange Library Board and the library opened in a store at the Firelite Shopping Center on Old Tavern Road.
Originally staffed by volunteers, the Library Board of Directors soon saw the need for a librarian and appointed Mrs. Alton W. Mabry, Jr. to this position. The Lion's Club of Orange raised the money for the piece of land on which the library now stands, opposite the Town Green between the old Town Hall building and the home of the late Benjamin Clark, Jr. Once land was purchased plans were drawn up for a new library building. A building fund, headed by Henry Greifzu, was soon under way. The new library opened in 1961.
In 1958 the Church of the Good Shepherd (Episcopal) laid the cornerstone for a new church on Race Brook Road. In January, 1959, the church relocated from the old building on Spring Street to its new building. The dedication of the church took place on Palm Sunday of that year.
[picture caption] Mary L. Tracy turns the first spade of dirt for expansion in 1948 of the Orange Center School, which was later named in her honor. She served as a teacher, principal and acting school superintendent in the Orange School System for 51 years before her retirement in 1970.