The lower level has come a long way in the past few weeks as renovations have been ongoing.
The lower level has come a long way in the past few weeks as renovations have been ongoing.

   For years, the message has been simple.

   The old Mapes Hotel cannot be saved.

   After years of neglect by former downtown developer Boca Grande, and then some damage inflicted after it was believed the building would be torn down anyway, it seemed a foregone conclusion that 300 Watson St. could not be salvaged.

   Tom Rogers, whose family owns the property now, chuckles when he hears this.

   “Structurally, it’s in very good shape,” he said. “There’s not a problem. When they said it has to be torn down, that is somebody who does not want to take the effort of redoing it. If this will be historic downtown Ripon, we have to save the building, right?

   “And this one is one of the oldest buildings down here. The rest of them are 1880, 1900. From what I’ve been told, [the Mapes Hotel is] from 1860.”

   Did the building have challenges? Yes.

   But not only can it be saved, two of the three floors will remain largely intact as the Rogers family renovates the property before turning it into a commercial and residential structure later this year.

Read the full story in the July 4, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.