Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

Bounded by North, Church, Union, and both sides of Warren Sts.

National or State Register of Historic Places
Bounded by North, Church, Union, and both sides of Warren Sts. | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Ceresco Site
Reference Number:75000064
Location (Address):Bounded by North, Church, Union, and both sides of Warren Sts.
County:Fond du Lac
Ceresco Site
Roughly bounded by North, Church, Union, and Warren streets, Ripon, Fond du Lac County
Dates of settlement: 1844-1851

Wisconsin followers of French sociologist and social reformer Francois Marie Charles Fourier sought to create a community based on the Fourier's ideals of cooperative industry and the reorganization of society. In 1844, a group of his followers, known as the Wisconsin Phalanx, settled on a plot of approximately 1000 acres in what is now the city of Ripon. The Phalanx named their community Ceresco after the Roman goddess of agriculture, Ceres. The residents worked the land in common, but held individual stock in the enterprise and were paid according to the value of their work.

The most visible remnant of the built Fourierite community in Wisconsin is the Long House. This long, two-story building housed about 20 families. Originally a corridor on each floor divided the Long House into individual apartments. This was once the central house of the commune. The commune also included a mill, a schoolhouse and other outbuildings. The nearby Ceresco Park is the remains of the village common.

The Ceresco settlement was short lived with problems arising within a few years. Many had to do with the living conditions, including the dissatisfaction of living in cramped quarters with other families when additional land was readily available. The community disbanded in 1851 and the plat was sold for a profit for the growing city of Ripon. Some of the Ceresco settlers stayed on in Ripon while others moved on with the opening frontier.

Period of Significance:1850-18741825-1849
Area of Significance:Philosophy
Area of Significance:Religion
Area of Significance:Social History
Applicable Criteria:Event
Historic Use:Landscape: Plaza
Historic Use:Domestic: Multiple Dwelling
Architectural Style:No Style Listed
Resource Type:Site
Historic Status:Listed in the National Register
Historic Status:Listed in the State Register
National Register Listing Date:09/05/1975
State Register Listing Date:01/01/1989
Number of Contributing Buildings:1
Number of Contributing Sites:1
Number of Contributing Structures:0
Number of Contributing Objects:0
Number of Non-Contributing Sites:1
Number of Non-Contributing Structures:0
Number of Non-Contributing Objects:0
National Register and State Register of Historic Places, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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