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Historical Society digitizes 104 years of Ripon Record
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John Mangelos, president of the Ripon Historical Society, researches past years in the newly digitized past issues of the weekly Ripon Record. Mangelos said it will be a great tool for residents who are looking up their family histories. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

One hundred and four years of the now defunct Ripon Record editions are coming to life in a digital format.
Thanks to the Ripon Historical Society and its president John Mangelos, all the past editions were resurrected from the attic of the newspaper office and digitized using available microfilm copies dating back to 1912. They will soon be available for public inspection.
Mangelos said the funds for the $10,000 restoration of the paper came from numerous private and business donations in $5, $10, $25 amounts and larger corporate donations.  BMI Imaging Systems of San Jose performed the work.
“This project speaks volumes, if people in town feel such a project has merit, they will step up and support it every time,” he said. “Two computers have been donated and will be located at the Clarence Smit Museum on West Main Street so that the public can use them to find old stories in their searches as well as helping with family histories.”
Members of the Historical Society are welcome to use those computers on Wednesdays and Saturdays without charge, he said.  Non-members will be charged $5 for 30-minute increments of time doing research.
Those fees will help pay the hosting cost of $200 being charged by the imaging service that put the program together.  Mangelos noted that the historical society will be going out into the community in October seeking new members.
Mangelos explained that when someone enters a family name into their computer search, that name will be displayed from throughout the 104 years of the past issues. 
One page he outlined on Wednesday was the March 1, 1917 issue that included the price of the weekly paper for one year — $1.50 to be paid in advance.  On the upper right-hand corner of the front page was “The History of the River District School.” Written by Fred H. Kincaid, the story noted that the writer had come to Ripon In November of 1869 with Kincaid Road west of the community being later named in his honor. 
Kincaid continued, “In the last of the ‘70s we voted to build a new schoolhouse and chose a quarter of Section 16 at the intersection of Murphy Ferry and River roads.”
Also in that edition, another front-page story was headlined, “A Non-Sectarian Orphanage for Ripon.”
It was noted that there was a fear of war being eminent in 1917 “with one or more foreign powers” and the feeling was that the community needed to take advantage of the lull before the storm to provide for the children of those Ripon citizens that might be killed in war – a perception realized with World War I. 
Thomas Caswell of Ceres donated 430 acres for the building of an orphanage five miles west of Ripon with the understanding another $27,000 of private donations would be sought to build the structure to care for boys 12 to 18 years. The orphanage site was to be near the old Taylor Ferry Road. Caswell’s daughters would later donate the land for what is now Caswell State Park on the Stanislaus River.
The suspected arson of the two-story Howard Hotel in 1979 saw some 30 firefighters attacking the blaze being unsuccessful.   The structure built in 1915 in the 100 block of West Main Street in Ripon’s downtown was destroyed.
In a funeral notice, the paper told of the passing of Clinton South who was killed with members of his family when his new Cadillac rolled during a race on a nearby roadway that shocked the community to its core.  Clinton South Avenue has long been the site of the Ripon High school farm.
City of Ripon Public Works Director Ted Johnston set up the new computers in the downtown museum.
It is hoped the availability of the newspaper history will provide avenues for student research in the schools of the Ripon community.  Mangelos has agreed to provide a weekly review of Ripon’s past from the pages of the Ripon Record to be printed in the Bulletin.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email