Ripon was known in the early days as “The Prairie City” as it was located on the northern edge of the largest open prairie in Wisconsin. A massive oak tree, known as the
“Signal Oak” was a landmark that could be seen for miles. The Butte des Morts Native
American trail crossed through Ripon on its way from Green Lake to Oshkosh. This
prairie area which had a creek for water power, trees for building and land vast enough
to establish farming, became what we now know as Ripon.
The earliest settlers to Ripon were Northerners from New York and New England. First
came the Wisconsin Phalanx and their Ceresco settlement which was later absorbed
into Ripon. The next arrivals were speculators purchasing tracts of land at a low cost for development. That led to a
migration of others to this area.
At the Ripon Historical Society, we share and preserve the stories and artifacts from
our early settlers through life in Ripon today. We invite you
to learn about our captivating history.