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Ripley, Tennessee
City Square in Ripley, September 2013
City Square in Ripley, September 2013
The Rip, Rip-Town, Lil' Memphis
"Come see what's growing on"
Location of Ripley in Lauderdale County, Tennessee.
Location of Ripley in Lauderdale County, Tennessee.
Coordinates: 35°44′35″N 89°32′2″W / 35.74306°N 89.53389°W / 35.74306; -89.53389Coordinates: 35°44′35″N 89°32′2″W / 35.74306°N 89.53389°W / 35.74306; -89.53389
Country United States
State Tennessee
County Lauderdale
Founded 1836
Incorporated 1838
Named for Eleazer Ripley
 • Total 12.91 sq mi (33.42 km2)
 • Land 12.87 sq mi (33.33 km2)
 • Water 0.04 sq mi (0.10 km2)
446 ft (136 m)
 • Total 8,445
 • Estimate 
 • Density 602.50/sq mi (232.63/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 731
FIPS code 47-63340
GNIS feature ID 1299470

Ripley is a city in Lauderdale County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 8,445 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Lauderdale County.


Ripley is located at 35°44′35″N 89°32′2″W / 35.74306°N 89.53389°W / 35.74306; -89.53389 (35.743115, -89.533872).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.9 square miles (33 km2), of which 12.8 square miles (33 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (0.31%) is water.

Ripley is located on the southeastern edge of the New Madrid Seismic Zone, an area with a high earthquake risk.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 532
1880 353 −33.6%
1890 682 93.2%
1900 1,640 140.5%
1910 2,011 22.6%
1920 2,070 2.9%
1930 2,330 12.6%
1940 2,784 19.5%
1950 3,318 19.2%
1960 3,782 14.0%
1970 4,794 26.8%
1980 6,366 32.8%
1990 6,188 −2.8%
2000 7,844 26.8%
2010 8,445 7.7%
2019 (est.) 7,753 −8.2%

As of the census of 2000, there were 7,844 people, 3,142 households, and 2,054 families residing in the city. The population density was 612.3 people per square mile (236.4/km2). There were 3,397 housing units at an average density of 265.2 per square mile (102.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 51.56% White, 46.81% African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.27% Asian, 0.38% from other races, and 0.83% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.07% of the population.

There were 3,142 households, out of which 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.1% were married couples living together, 23.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.6% were non-families. 31.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 27.6% under the age of 18, 11.0% from 18 to 24, 27.2% from 25 to 44, 20.2% from 45 to 64, and 14.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 84.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $23,662, and the median income for a family was $34,183. Males had a median income of $31,321 versus $20,661 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,710. About 22.1% of families and 27.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 38.1% of those under age 18 and 27.5% of those age 65 or over.



  • Ripley Middle School
  • Ripley Primary School
  • Ripley Elementary School
  • Ripley High School
  • Abundant Life Christian School
  • First Apostolic Academy
  • Gateway Christian School
  • Tennessee Technology Center-Ripley
  • University of Tennessee-Martin, Ripley Campus

In 2009, Ripley appeared on Newsmax magazine's list of the "Top 25 Most Uniquely American Cities and Towns," a piece written by current CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg. In determining his ranking, Greenberg cited the city's extensive involvement in the National Defense University program. According to the article, Ripley is one of the first stops for military students in the program and is also "the only site where students stay with families and are immersed in the American lifestyle."


  • Whitefield Assembly of God
  • Maranatha Baptist Church
  • Victory Baptist Church
  • Asbury United Methodist Church
  • Ave Maria Catholic Church
  • Calvary Hill Baptist Church
  • Curve Baptist Church
  • First Apostolic Church
  • First Assembly of God
  • First Baptist Church
  • First United Methodist Church
  • Grace Baptist Church
  • Holly Grove Baptist Church
  • Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses
  • Mary's Chapel Baptist Church
  • New Beginnings Christian Center
  • Walnut Grove Baptist Church
  • Whitefield Assembly of God
  • Immanuel Episcopal Church
  • Macedonia Baptist Church
  • Ripley Church of God
  • Ripley Church of Christ
  • Spiller Hill Church of God In Christ
  • Gospel Rock Holiness Church
  • Olive Branch Baptist Church
  • Spirit of Deliverance Ministries
  • Lightfoot Methodist Church
  • Abundant Life Assembly of God
  • Central Community Church

Recreation and fitness

Ripley parks and recreation

Ripley Park, also known as Ripley Pool and Waterslide, is located at 200 Mary Robert. Its facilities include: pool with water slide, playground equipment, seven pavilions that require reservations, grills, 4 athletic field complex, 4 state of the art tennis courts, 1.1 mile walking trail, large grassy areas parking, restrooms, and the park office.

W.G.L. Rice Park is located south of Downtown Ripley, Tennessee. The park has a baseball/softball field, soccer field, tennis court, basketball court, two playgrounds, and a partial walking trail. Rice Park is the oldest city park in Ripley. The land for the park was donated in the early 1900s through a gift by the Rice Family and is noted for its historic Labor Day Celebration.

Downtown revitalization

As one of the six cities selected in Tennessee for downtown revitalization, extensive work is being done around the town square and adjacent areas. Work began in the fall of 2008 and the courthouse square was completed in May 2010.

Notable people

  • Romel Andrews, football player
  • Sleepy John Estes, blues guitarist
  • Ramon Foster, Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman
  • Ray King, MLB pitcher 1999–2008
  • Hosea T. Lockard, jurist
  • Miles O'Keeffe, Hollywood actor
  • Speech, rapper and hip-hop artist
  • Peetie Wheatstraw, blues musician
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