Ripley, Ohio, is a charming, historic river town, just a little over an hour’s drive from Downtown Cincinnati. A visit to Ripley makes a delightful day trip away from the hustle and bustle of urban or suburban life. You can explore the town and its many historic spots, which are all part of a 55-acre National Historic District. Ripley is located on the Ohio River off US 52 in Ohio’s Brown County.
Many of the historic spots in this sleepy town are related to the Underground Railroad movement. Hundreds of local people were active in aiding fugitive slaves from the early 1800s onward. The Ripley Anti-Slavery Society was just one of several groups helping those individuals escape their horrific life in the South.Several places that are of historic significance are the John P. Parker House, which sits along Front Street and faces the Ohio River, and the Rankin House, which sits atop a hill overlooking the Ohio.
John P. Parker was a freed slave, abolitionist, inventor and industrialist who helped hundreds of fugitive slaves escape their former life. The John P. Parker House & Museum is a National Historic Landmark. The Rankin House, also a National Historic Landmark, was home to Presbyterian minister John Rankin and his family. Rankin was a co-founder of the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society in Zanesville, as well as the Ripley Anti-Slavery Society. His home in Ripley was a significant stop on the Underground Railroad.
Other places to visit while in Ripley include both the Tobacco Museum and the Ripley Museum. Both museums are located in mid-19th century homes on Second Street. Besides the historical sites, Ripley offers many other activities including antiquing, a farmers market, festivals, and dining.
To tour the John P. Parker House, contact 937-392-4188 for an appointment. From the first Tuesday in May through the second Sunday in December, the Rankin House is open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from Noon until 5 p.m. Admission for both sites is $4 for adults and $2 for students (6-18). The Tobacco Museum is open Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.from April through December. Admission is by donation.Open from April 1 through December 14, The Ripley Museum features Saturday hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment. Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for students (under 18).