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Ripon showcasing new museum location
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A historic blacksmith shop comes alive in the Clarence Smit Memorial Museum in Ripon with John Mangelos trying on the anvil for size. - photo by GLENN KAHL

RIPON — Ripon’s Clarence Smit Memorial Museum is an important focus of the 27th Annual Main Street Day and Car Show downtown on Saturday, Oct. 15.

The museum was relocated from Mavis Stouffer Park earlier this year by the historical society.

It is the ninth year for the car show that can be found on Main Street east of Stockton Avenue at the city’s main intersection.  Main Street will be closed for the event with vendors setting up their wares at 9 a.m.

Ripon chef John Mangelos has spearheaded the museum effort in the community and is responsible for much of its successes in collecting memorabilia from the citizenry that has rounded out the developing collection.

Mangelos and his docents point out to such treasures as Roy Filloon’s graduation diploma from Zinc School.  Graduation from an elementary school was regarded as a big step forward in 1900.

Zinc House School was formed in 1852 and was housed in the Zinc Hotel until 1861 when it was moved to a one-room wooden structure on French Camp Road near Due Road.  Later in 1916 the school name was changed to Atlanta, since it was located in the Atlanta settlement.  

Zinc was founded by Ernest Wagener primarily to educate his 10 children as well as others living nearby in the Dent and Castoria Township that was to eventually become Ripon.

Also on display at the museum are grinding bowls once used by the Miwok Indians that had lived along the Stanislaus River.  The grinding bowl is made of volcanic rock not found in the valley.  It is believed it had been traded by another tribe to the Plains Miwok Indians.  The trade was for either acorn flour or salmon.

The Mohler farm family of Ripon discovered the large stone bowl in their fields some 60 years ago.  It was located in an area near Mohler and Moncure roads.  Larry Mohler said his family was pleased to find a home for the piece of Ripon history in the museum.

The museum is also home to a blacksmith shop and a period-styled kitchen along with barber and medical sections in the restored building.  A cabinet with samples of all the freeze-dried coffees and teas produced at the Nestle Plant are also on display.

A pancake breakfast at the Ripon Fire Station starts off the day on Oct. 15 at 6:30 a.m. and will continue until 10.  Tickets are $7.50 for adults and $5.50 for children seven to 12 with those six and under being invited to eat free of charge.

The proceeds from the breakfast will go to the Fire Department Explorers’ Scholarship Fund whose members are hosting the event, cooking and serving of the entire breakfast.

The Ripon Community and Health Commission is setting up its Health Faire for the fourth year in a row in the parking lot of the Ripon Athletic Club.  Doctors Hospital of Manteca will be taking blood pressure checks and handing out small gift items.

The Ripon Rotary Club has planned to make polio in Third World countries a focus in the service club’s international effort to eradicate the dreaded disease that is still present in the world.  Club president Louise Johnson said the members will be painting “purple pinky fingers” of the children at the event to show support for their effort.  Rotary will also be accepting donations toward their eradication effort.

The museum will be open from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. The Ripon Library is scheduled to present a book sale in their parking lot from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.  The vendors are offering arts and crafts, jewelry and food booths.