The gulf coast from Mississippi to the Florida Panhandle is a hotbed for vacationers all across the country. Of course, we're no different and us Cajuns also love spending our summers along the "Redneck Riviera."

One of the favorite hot spots is the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, Alabama area.

I was discussing with a friend yesterday about Orange Beach in particular.

Orange Beach is the eastern most town along Alabama's gulf coast, right before you get to the Florida line. It is home to a popular shopping, dining and entertainment area called The Wharf. And I guess technically the world famous Flora-Bama bar is part of Orange Beach too.

But in my conversation with my friend, the topic of the town's name came up. I was stumped! Why is it called "Orange" Beach?

The water or land sure isn't orange. A quick search of the area's history reveals a simple answer. It has to do with the fruit that was once grown there.

According to the Encyclopedia of Alabama (uh, yeah, that's a thing), the name genesis of the town goes a little something like this:

Given the town's proximity to vast forestlands, early businesses included turpentine and naval stores production and a shingle mill. As forestlands were depleted in the late nineteenth century, they were replaced with orange groves, from which the town derived its present name. The citrus industry remained an important aspect of the local economy until several hard freezes, the last being in 1926, effectively ended it.

So there you go, Orange Beach used to have a bunch of orange groves...and now they don't. They just have miles and miles of condos and tents littered up and down the coast, waving SEC school flags and blaring "Sweet Home Alabama".

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