Cookie Town USA
Turn back the hands of time with a walk through one of Ripon's historic neighborhoods. Much of historic Ripon remains intact, having changed little over the last 100 years. In a time when some communities lost entire blocks of buildings to the "urban renewal" effort of the 1970s, the Watson Street Commercial Historic District remains relatively unchanged. Browse through a wide array of specialty shops, often said to be "quaint yet sophisticated." Ripon businesses offer a fine selection of goods & services provided in a friendly, personal way. The residential area south of the downtown has many magnificent, fully restored Victorian Painted ladies, with architectural styles ranging from Italianate to Queen Ann, Second Empire, to Greek Revival.
A simple frame schoolhouse, built in 1850, holds a powerful history. In the Little White Schoolhouse a decision was made by a small group of Ripon citizens that changed the future of our nation forever. The Little White Schoolhouse tells an intriguing story of how the Republican Party came to be. These Ripon citizens voted to form and become members of a new political party called "Republican." The birth of the Republican Party brought a dedicated following of individuals who pledged to organize together and fight against the spread of slavery. Today you can enjoy tours through this historic building while enjoying the history behind it.
With a packed gravel base, the Northwestern Trail is an ideal walking and biking trail. The trail begins at the Public Library and extends 3.5 miles to the west. A great trail for running, walking and hiking alike. You can expect to experience lush vegetation and a variety of wildlife along the way. Rabbits, chipmunks and gophers are plentiful. Keep your eyes open for the deer, turkeys, woodchucks and foxes! Also, the Ripon College Conservancy is located in the back of Rodman Center for the Arts. The trails wind through wetland areas and connects with South Woods Crystal Creek. Along the trail you will see a mesic prairie, an oak savanna, and a glacial moraine.
The serene campus of Ripon College, a fine, private liberal arts school, is just west of the business district. In 1851, David Mapes and a group of townspeople founded the college on top of the hill, chartered on January 29, 1851 as Brockway College. In 1864 the name was changed to Ripon College. The campus stands prominently on top of the hill, with 22 noble buildings and beautifully landscaped courtyards, seldom surpassed by any other college campus in the country. Experience Ripon's rich tradition first hand by attending unique festivals or attractions. After visiting our community, we know you'll agree - there's no place like this place, any place.