Ripley, California

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census-designated place
Ripley is located in California
Location within the state of California
Coordinates: 33°31′26″N 114°39′11″W / 33.52389°N 114.65306°W / 33.52389; -114.65306Coordinates: 33°31′26″N 114°39′11″W / 33.52389°N 114.65306°W / 33.52389; -114.65306
Country  United States
State  California
County Riverside
 • Total 1.701 sq mi (4.405 km2)
 • Land 1.701 sq mi (4.405 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)  0%
Elevation[2] 249 ft (76 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 692
 • Density 410/sq mi (160/km2)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 92272
Area code(s) 760
GNIS feature ID 2583122

Ripley is a census-designated place community in east Riverside County. It is located along State Route 78 (SR78) between Palo Verde and Blythe. The area is mostly agricultural lands irrigated by Colorado River water. The elevation is 249 feet (76 m).[2] The population was 692 at the 2010 census.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP covers an area of 1.7 square miles (4.4 km²), all of it land. Alongside with Blythe and Palo Verde, Ripley is located in the Palo Verde Valley.

Official U.S. Geological Survey NAD27 coordinates for the community are 33°31′31″N 114°39′19″W / 33.52528°N 114.65528°W / 33.52528; -114.65528. It is within area code 760 and has its own ZIP Code: 92272.


This are has a large amount of sunshine year round due to its stable descending air and high pressure. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Ripley has a mild desert climate, abbreviated "Bwh" on climate maps.[3]


The area is largely irrigated agriculture. Farms in the area include operations owned by David Brown and Sons, Lawrence Chaffin Farms, and Red River Farms. The Metropolitan Water District has made an agreement with the United States Bureau of Reclamation to fallow land in the area in order to conserve water. Farmers will be paid not to grow crops so that the water can be used for other purposes. The area is served by Palo Verde Irrigation District and formerly the Arizona and California Railroad. The railroad's Blythe Division track ends just west of Ripley.


Ripley was established in 1920 when the railroad from Blythe was extended from its location. The townsite is named to dedicate former Santa Fe Railway president Edward Payson Ripley. It never extended to the Southern Pacific mainline 60 miles to the southwest as originally planned. [4] The town aimed to be a resort location until the valley flooded a few years later, leaving the place derelict. Today, a water tower remains as a notable landmark in town.

Local businesses[edit]

Ripley, in the middle of the valley, was the most thriving town in the Palo Verde Valley up until the construction of U.S. Highway 60 & 70 between Phoenix and Los Angeles in the early 1930s. The highway was routed through Blythe, and that was the beginning of the end for Ripley's business community. For lack of traffic, and the growth of Blythe's commercial establishment, some two dozen or more businesses folded during the Great Depression, so that Ripley became little more than a dusty community of several hundred people. By the 1960s, the only viable business left was Benefield's department store and food market, which served farm families in the southern part of the valley. Benefield's was burglarized and torched in the 1980s, and was never rebuilt.


The 2010 United States Census[5] reported that Ripley had a population of 692. The population density was 406.9 people per square mile (157.1/km²). The racial makeup of Ripley was 393 (56.8%) White, 103 (14.9%) African American, 2 (0.3%) Native American, 1 (0.1%) Asian, 4 (0.6%) Pacific Islander, 165 (23.8%) from other races, and 24 (3.5%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 537 persons (77.6%).

End of the day, near Ripley, in 1972

The Census reported that 692 people (100% of the population) lived in households, 0 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.

There were 218 households, out of which 123 (56.4%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 95 (43.6%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 63 (28.9%) had a female householder with no husband present, 18 (8.3%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 22 (10.1%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 1 (0.5%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 33 households (15.1%) were made up of individuals and 9 (4.1%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.17. There were 176 families (80.7% of all households); the average family size was 3.49.

The population was spread out with 264 people (38.2%) under the age of 18, 85 people (12.3%) aged 18 to 24, 131 people (18.9%) aged 25 to 44, 148 people (21.4%) aged 45 to 64, and 64 people (9.2%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 24.8 years. For every 100 females there were 98.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.9 males.

There were 295 housing units at an average density of 173.5 per square mile (67.0/km²), of which 78 (35.8%) were owner-occupied, and 140 (64.2%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.5%; the rental vacancy rate was 25.8%. 249 people (36.0% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 443 people (64.0%) lived in rental housing units.


  • U.S. Geological Survey, National Geographic Names Database
  • Map: "Ripley, California, 7.5-minute Quadrangle," U.S. Geological Survey, 1975.
  • Map: "Road Map of California, 1958," (Sacramento, California: Department of Public Works, Division of Highways, 1958).

External links[edit]