(Note: The ongoing Palo Verde Historical Museum & Society contributions are from a collection of “History of the Communities of the Palo Verde Valley” submissions dated and published November 2001.)
Ripley was named after E.P. Ripley, ex-president of the Santa Fe Railroad.
J.M. Neeland was known to be the father of the town of Ripley. Neeland and other officers and owners of the California Southern Railroad had the idea of making Ripley the trading center of the valley.
They also planned to have the main east-west highway from Arizona pass through Ripley and cross the river by a new ferry to the east.
The westbound highway would follow the old Bradshaw trail.
A townsite was established and, by 1922, there were at least 100 residences, about 15 stores and businesses, two cotton gins, a 36-room hotel, a public school, railroad station, some garages, a town water system, and the large water tank and a tower that still stands today.
In the summer of 1922, the Colorado River overflowed and the valley experienced one of the worst floods of the century.
The levees protecting the valley washed out and Ripley and the lower end of the valley bore the brunt of the flood.
The new Ripley townsite never recovered from the catastrophe and has remained a small town with its high water tower and tank and the remains of some of the old buildings, cotton gins, grain storage warehouse, a country fire station, and a few houses and trailers plus a subdivision for migrant farm workers, and a small recreation park.