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Ripon, Wisconsin
Looking at Downtown Ripon
Looking at Downtown Ripon
Location of Ripon in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin.
Location of Ripon in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin.
Ripon, Wisconsin is located in Wisconsin
Ripon, Wisconsin
Ripon, Wisconsin
Location in Wisconsin
Country  United States
State  Wisconsin
County  Fond du Lac
settled 1849
 • Total 5.03 sq mi (13.02 km2)
 • Land 4.97 sq mi (12.88 km2)
 • Water 0.05 sq mi (0.14 km2)
 • Total 7,733
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,576.40/sq mi (608.71/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
Area code(s) 920
FIPS code 55-68175
Welcome sign

Ripon is a city in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 7,733 at the 2010 census. The city is surrounded by the Town of Ripon.

Ripon is home to the Little White Schoolhouse, the commonly recognized birthplace of the Republican Party.



Ripon, named for the English cathedral city of Ripon, North Yorkshire, by John S. Horner due to the fact that this is where his ancestors came from when they originally emigrated to America. Horner named not only the town but also most of the streets, his house is still standing today. Ripon was officially founded as a city in 1849 by David P. Mapes, a former New York steamboat captain. Within two years the city had absorbed the nearby commune of Ceresco, established in 1844 by the Wisconsin Phalanx, a group of settlers inspired by the communitarian socialist philosophy of Charles Fourier. Mapes was a founder of Ripon College, originally incorporated as Brockway College in 1851.

Birthplace of the Republican Party

Little White Schoolhouse Ripon Wisconsin Feb 2012
The Little White Schoolhouse of Ripon, listed on the List of Registered Historic Places

Meeting at a school house in Ripon on February 28, 1854, some 30 opponents of the Kansas-Nebraska Act called for the organization of a new political party (to link their cause with the Declaration of Independence). The group also took a leading role in the creation of the Republican Party in many northern states during the summer of 1854. While conservatives and many moderates were content merely to call for the restoration of the Missouri Compromise or a prohibition of slavery extension, the group insisted that no further political compromise with slavery was possible.

The February 1854 meeting was the first political meeting of the group that would become the Republican Party. The modern Ripon Society, a Republican think tank, takes its name from Ripon, Wisconsin.


Ripon is located in the northwest corner of Fond du Lac County.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.02 square miles (13.00 km2), of which, 4.97 square miles (12.87 km2) is land and 0.05 square miles (0.13 km2) is water.


Ripon lies in the Sinnipee Group, a geologic formation composed primarily of dolostone, with limestone as a secondary rock type. Ripon's bedrock is primarily limestone. The limestone indicates that Ripon's location was once a shallow sea. Since Ripon is on the Sinnipee Group, it is a Karst environment. Ripon also lies in an area that was affected by several glaciation periods. The area has relatively gentle relief and is part of the Fox River (Wisconsin) watershed.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 2,025
1870 2,976 47.0%
1880 3,117 4.7%
1890 3,358 7.7%
1900 3,818 13.7%
1910 3,739 −2.1%
1920 3,929 5.1%
1930 3,984 1.4%
1940 4,566 14.6%
1950 5,619 23.1%
1960 6,163 9.7%
1970 7,053 14.4%
1980 7,111 0.8%
1990 7,241 1.8%
2000 6,828 −5.7%
2010 7,733 13.3%
2019 (est.) 7,841 1.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 7,733 people, 3,053 households, and 1,769 families living in the city. The population density was 1,555.9 inhabitants per square mile (600.7/km2). There were 3,306 housing units at an average density of 665.2 per square mile (256.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.7% White, 0.7% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 2.6% from other races, and 0.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.0% of the population.

There were 3,053 households, of which 27.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.3% were married couples living together, 8.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.1% were non-families. 36.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 17.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.90.

The median age in the city was 37.2 years. 20.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 17.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.8% were from 25 to 44; 23.6% were from 45 to 64; and 17% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.4% male and 52.6% female.


Ripon is served by Wisconsin 23, Wisconsin 44 and Wisconsin 49 of the state highway system. Wis 23 West and Wis 49 North head to Green Lake. Wis 23 heads east to Rosendale and Fond du Lac. Wis 44 North heads northeast to Pickett and Oshkosh. Wis 44 and 49 South are cosigned exiting town for 6 miles. Wis 44 heads to Fairwater. Wis 49 heads to Brandon and Waupun. Fond du Lac County Hwy E also serves town.

Ripon is the starting point for the Fisk VFR arrival into EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.


  • Alliance Laundry Systems (Speed Queen commercial line)
  • National Forensic League


Notable people

  • Frank L. Anders, Medal of Honor recipient, attended college and died in Ripon.
  • Ezekiel Babcock, farmer and politician
  • Jeanne Bice, entrepreneur, television personality and founder of the Quacker Factory clothing line
  • Sarah Powers Bradish, writer and WCTU activist
  • Carrie Chapman Catt, president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association
  • Arthur F. Hinz, politician
  • John S. Horner, acting Governor of Michigan Territory and Secretary of Wisconsin Territory
  • Bruno E. Jacob, founder of the National Forensic League, though born in the nearby town of Valders, lived in Ripon most of his life
  • Lewis G. Kellogg, politician
  • Asa Kinney, pioneer and politician
  • Oscar Hugh La Grange, Union Army general
  • Alonzo A. Loper, politician
  • Richard Maltby, Jr., theater director and producer, lyricist, screenwriter, cryptic crossword constructor for Harper's Magazine
  • Gard Miller, Wisconsin State Representative
  • George Mitchell, politician
  • Roy E. Reed, politician and lawyer
  • H. Gordon Selfridge, founder of London-based Selfridges department store, was born in Ripon
  • Fred E. Soper, Wisconsin State Representative
  • William Starr, Wisconsin State Representative
  • Lyman Wellington Thayer, politician
  • Clarissa Tucker Tracy American botanist, taught at Ripon College, studied the local flora for 30 years and died in Ripon
  • William D. Turner, politician
  • Otto Julius Zobel, inventor of the m-derived filter and the Zobel network, was born and raised in Ripon

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