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November 2012
Our future flows from our past.

Ripon Historical Society 508 Watson Street Ripon, WI 54971 USA 920-748-5354 Jeff Bumby, President Betsy Stanfield, Newsletter Editor

Grand Reopening of Historical Society Museum Bill Woolley Despite a soggy, rainy day, a capacity crowd attended the Grand Reopening of the Society’s Museum in the Pickard House on Sunday, October 14th. However, with exhibits available in five rooms, visitors still had the opportunity to study the many artifacts on display without feeling crowded. The reopening marked the end of a major reorganization of the Museum that has taken nearly two years and marks the most significant change in the museum since it was created. The effort was led by Joyce Rudolph, Curator of Exhibits who was assisted by Bill Woolley and Michele Benson. The Society originally furnished the Pickard House to resemble a middleclass Ripon home from around 1900 to 1920. The furnishing was done quite well. However, this arrangement meant that the house as a museum changed little from year to year with little opportunity for the society to display many of its thousands of interesting artifacts from Ripon’s history. As a result, it was decided to reorganize four of the main rooms as a museum. The rooms were repainted, the floors refinished, and new modern lighting was installed. After that, new display cabinets were purchased and installed. The entry room, or Ripon Room, is now dedicated to an overall history of Ripon. The focus is on the major events linked to the founding of Ripon, including the communalist experiment at Ceresco, the founding of Ripon College, and the birth of the Republican Party. Beyond the “Ripon Room” is a room dedicated to ancient and recent archeology in the Ripon and Ceresco area and houses exhibits of artifacts from the immense Steinbring-Farvour collecton


The other two rooms on the main floor are dedicated to changing exhibits. This year’s exhibit is entitled “Ripon Women in Your Grandmother’s Day.” The exhibit portrays not only how Ripon women lived a century ago, but most importantly, how and why their attitudes toward themselves as women changed. If you missed the grand reopening, be sure to take advantage of one of our programs to take it in. The Museum will also be open on Saturday, December 1st as part of the Dickens weekend.

Many people worked to bring the new museum to life Joyce Rudolph, Curator of Exhibits Our Grand Reopening was a huge success due to the help of many people. President Jeff Bumby was a great source of support and many Society members served at docents. Our first step when we launched this project two years ago was to create an Interiors Committee which made many thoughtful recommendations to the Society’s Board of Directors. The following people served on that committee: Brian Wood, Barb and Greg Becker, Tony Frommeldt, Bill Woolley, Carol Sachen, Bonnie Brooks, Audrey Conant and Billy Hutton. Thank you Bill Woolley for being the historian with great visionary sense, and Michelle Benson for your wonderful creativity. We worked well together as a team. Special thanks to Ralph Quinney and Nedra Martz who were always there when needed and ready to help. Officer Slate Proposal for 2013 Jeff Bumby All of the current officers have offered to continue their duties for the next year, with the unfilled position of Vice President taken by a willing Jack Steinbring. The proposals are: President - Jeff Bumby Vice President - Jack Steinbring Secretary - Sue Loomer Treasurer - Roberta Walker


Other key unelected volunteers have also expressed a desire to continue their work with the Society; they are Nedra Martz, Joyce Rudolph, Carol Sachen and Ralph Quinney. The officer slate will be voted on at our annual meeting on November 15th. National Forensic League Betsy Stanfield Adam Jacobi with the National Forensic League joined the Society in September for an overview of the NFL’s history. The NFL was founded in Ripon in 1925 by Bruno Jacob of Ripon College. Just a few years later, the league held its first national tournament at Ripon College. Over the decades, the NFL grew steadily and in 1969 had reached 300,000 members. In addition to the NFL’s history, Jacobi shared many details about the league’s headquarters building in downtown Ripon. Rediscovering Harvey Grant, Ripon’s first mayor Jeff Bumby For October’s program, Betsy Stanfield presented a program entitled Rediscovering Harvey Grant. Betsy grew up in Ripon and while researching her family genealogy, she came across her great, great, great, great father, Harvey Grant. Grant was born in Connecticut in 1792, and came with his family to Green Lake County in 1848. The Grants moved to Ripon in 1856 where Harvey became involved as a trustee of the young Ripon College, a builder of Ripon’s first grain elevator and became Ripon’s first mayor in 1858. Harvey died in Ripon in 1863. Betsy was able to locate the Grant family burial site in Hillside Cemetery with the help of the Society’s Lara Grant (no relation to Harvey). What Betsy found was discouraging; many of the markers were broken or tipped over. The City of Ripon does not have a program of monument repair, leaving that responsibility to family members. With the help of her father, Betsy organized a group of family members and they agreed together to restore the Grant family burial site. Twin City Monument of Neenah provided advice and did the needed work. Some stones could be repaired and some of the fragile marble monuments were replaced with granite. In some cases information was added to the stones but the original dates, which in cases differed from some written records, were retained. The program was enjoyed by approximately 20 people who stayed and asked a number of questions.


Ripon Historical Society 508 Watson Street PO Box 274 Ripon, WI 54971 USA

Remember, you can give to the Historical Society while you do your holiday shopping. Go to, register and select the Ripon Historical Society as the museum you wish to support. Happy shopping! Mark Your Calendar for Upcoming Events Nov. 15, 5:30 pm Annual Meeting and Chili Supper – Note the time!!!!! 2013 Watch your newsletter for details about the interesting programs lined up for next year. All events are held in the Society’s meeting room at 508 Watson St.