Orlean is located in western Fauquier County, within the boundaries of Thomas Lord Fairfax’s Leeds Manor, much of which came to be owned by Chief Justice John Marshall. The village developed in the first quarter of the 19th century as a farm trading center along Route 688 (the Old Leeds Manor Road), which was a major north-south connector in the western part of the county. The town may have derived its name from the “Orlean” farm located on its periphery.

The village is a varied mix of new and old structures. Approximately 17 buildings and their associated outbuildings stand as records of this town’s history as a crossroads and rural commercial center date from the first quarter of the 19th century to the early 20th century. Portions of the town are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Some of the oldest buildings include the Orlean Farm with an exterior-end stone chimney that is characteristic of many of the early farmhouses in this region.

At the west side of junction of Routes 688 and 732 is the Greek Revival-style Maria Smith House. The bungalow shown below features the stone walls that are characteristic of the village streetscape.

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