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.
Capt. David P Mapes

103 Watson Street; Ripon Campus Theatre 1935

Built in 1872 to house A.W. Pettibone’s dry goods store and later a department store. In 1935 Ben Marcus converted it into the 1st of what would become a chain of over 700 movie theatres, Famous movie stars who attended Ripon College include Spencer Tracy, from the golden era of Hollywood, and Harrison Ford of Indiana Jones and Star Wars fame.

401 Watson Street; Ripon Public Library 1905

The neoclassical Ripon Public Library was funded through a grant from the Carnegie Foundation. It served as the community library until a new one was built in 1973. At that time, a human chain was utilized, passing books from hand-to-hand down Watson Street to a new library building at 120 Jefferson Street.

300 Watson Street; Mapes Hotel 1850s

The Mapes Hotel is one of the oldest buildings in downtown Ripon. It was built in the 1850s as the Mapes House by Timothy Mapes, son of Ripon co-founder David Mapes. After surviving major fire damage in the early 1900s and the threat of demolition more recently, it has been rescued and renovated as a boutique hotel.

125 Watson Street; Greenway Block 1862

This triangular street corner has been home to three different buildings and reflects the many changes Ripon has seen. In 1885 the Greenway burned and a new city hall was constructed on the site. The city hall was razed in 1965 and the modern-style Ripon Federal Savings and Loan was built and opened in 1969.

The Ripon Public (Rotary) Square; 1800s

The Ripon public square starts at the North end of Watson Street Commercial Historic District which is listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places. The square has been used as a gathering place since Ripon’s founding.  The American House hotel and early residences were built here in 1850.