Many people do not realize that there were once two communities which merged to become the City of Ripon. The first community began as the Wisconsin Phalanx when 19 men and a boy, along with leader Warren Chase, arrived on May 27, 1844. They had come from Southport (now Kenosha) and settled in a valley along Crystal Creek on the western side of present day Ripon. Founded on the utopian principles of Frenchman Charles Fourier as espoused by Albert Brisbane of New York, the settlement attempted to address society’s problems through communal living. Named Ceresco after Ceres, goddess of agriculture, it was also referred to as the Domain.
The township was named Ceresco in 1845 and their influence on the location of Ripon city streets leading to other communities can still be seen today. During its existence, the Phalanx’s land holdings grew to almost 1,800 acres and they had over two hundred members. Shares of stock in the Phalanx were sold for $25 per share.