For the past eight years, the Ripon Historical Society’s Clarence Smit Museum has been a downtown fixture.
Once upon a time, the property at 430 W. Main St. was the Ripon Public Library. Connie Jorgensen, in researching the events of the day, discovered a newspaper clipping of the planting of the ginkgo tree some 57 years ago.
Back then, the City Administrator was Arthur Clemens and Bill Glazier was the Public Works Superintendent. They were joined by Helen Kamps, Edna Redmond and Roy Simmons of the Ripon Garden Club during the tree-planting event.
Richfield Oil Company awarded the tree and the redwood plaque to the Ripon Garden Club, which was instrumental in getting other trees throughout town.
Jorgensen recently recaptured that moment by bringing the current city staff, in particular, City Administrator Kevin Werner and Director of Public Works Ted Johnston were invited to join Ripon Garden Club members Deb Travaille and Kathy Stuart to gather along the fully matured ginkgo tree, which was planted there so that city can experience its growth.
Much has grown in Ripon.
Not too long after the library – known now as the Ripon Memorial Library – relocated across the street, the Clarence Smit Museum was moved to that Main Street property from Stouffer Park.
At the Oct. 8 meeting, the Ripon City Council approved the new lease agreement with the Ripon Historical Society, which will pay $1 per year – the City forks out for all utilities and services necessary for operation of the museum.
The historical museum, in turn, is responsible for providing and maintaining the place as it relates to operations, including janitorial services.
This comes at no fiscal impact to the city.
No discussion by elected leaders was necessary.