City of Ripon

David P. Mapes arrived in the area and visited Ceresco in 1845. He was interested in the same Silver Creek region that John Scott Horner owned and paid him a visit at his farm on the south shore of Green Lake. riponhistory.org/notable-individuals Four years later Horner finally agreed to develop his land with the following conditions: Mapes was to plat the village, build a hotel and grist mill and run them for one year. In return he was to receive every other lot for development to recoup his costs. Horner was to select the name for the city and name the major streets. He named the city Ripon, after his ancestral home of Ripon, England.

Mapes knew that the first wave of settlers coming were from New England and New York, and he understood what they wanted. Good land, good water and education would be important to them. As settlers traveled into the area, Mapes would interview them. If he saw potential he would spend time promoting his village. If not, he would suggest they travel onto opportunities further North.

Beginning in 1849 Mapes’ vision became a reality. In the next ten years Ripon attracted settlers, founded a college, named what would become a new national political party, started businesses and became chartered as a city in 1858. Other necessities of a growing community included a bank, newspaper, several mills, several churches, a school, and railroad with access to Milwaukee. In 1860, Ripon gained national attention with the Booth War incident. Following the Civil War, Ripon entered a gradual municipal improvement phase, but not without controversy. For example, in pursuit of better fire protection many citizens did not want to fund a district and believed each property owner should care for their own building. Eventually, Ripon would boast a citywide gas works, water system, sewer system, electrical and telephone service by the early 1900s.