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  • Glenn Kahl

Ripon Museum Reopening Saturday


Photo courtesy of Glenn Kahl.

The Clarence Smit Museum in downtown Ripon re-opening Saturday.

Museum Curator Connie Jorgensen presents a framed copy of a 1974 Ripon Record newspaper heralding the day she can finally open the doors of the Ripon museum to once again display the countless artifacts of the community’s history to its citizenry.

Formerly the home of the Ripon Library the museum is located in the 300 block of Main Street and was closed due to the Corona Virus Pandemic. It was first opened by the Ripon Historical Society in the early ‘80s at its Stouffer Park location.

Visitors may once again tour the facility and see its displays from a blacksmith shop bellows the old seats from the Rio movie theater that opened in the downtown July 6, 1944. On the screen, that day was “Standing Room Only” starring Paulette Goddard and Fred McMurray. Tickets for the show were only 50 cents that included seven cents tax.

Drs. Benn and den Dulk had their offices at the southeast corner of Main Street and Acacia Avenue with a surgery suite downstairs in the basement. Much of their office equipment can be seen in one corner of the museum along with an actually Ripon family kitchen of the 1940s.

A photo of the old River School built-in 1917 includes the school board’s check register showing the cost of building the “still standing” facility at a total cost of $8,675. The $675 was the interest on the project.

A front-page photo of the original American Legion building also graces the museum when it was dedicated in 1928 on the city’s Main Street.

There are thousands of items in the museum well worth seeing by the community that dates back to a cannonball that transcends back to early action along the Stanislaus River. Ripon has a rich history that is well worth seeing in its library.

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