The History of Our Museum

The building at 108 S. Center Street, the site of the Turlock Historical Society Museum, was built in the California Mission style architecture by Albert Chatom in 1910.  Joe Gotobed and George Scherer operated the Palace Meat Market there from 1911 to 1918.  Mr. Gotobed then became the sole owner until 1921.  The Palace Market continued with owners Brereton and Kovats until 1939.  Also in 1939 the Crane brothers sold the building to William “Frank” Ripley. Ripley owned Rip’s Place, a pool hall, at 228 E. Main and access was cut in the north wall of the 108 S. Center space for card tables and storage of restaurant fixtures.

After WWII, Frank’s son Ellis redesigned the building to house the U-R-NXT barber shop and the Turlock Delicatessen, later the Superior Shoe Repair.  In 1965 Ellis inherited the building and was talked out of selling it by daughter Sharon, whose husband Duane Peterson managed the building.

In 1998, the Ripleys were informed by the City that major repairs were needed to bring the building up to code. The prospect of renovation as well as redevelopment fees prompted the Ripleys to consider suggestions of donating the building to the Society for use as a museum. At the close of 1999, the property was deeded to the Turlock Historical Society and renovation, under the supervision of Scott Atherton and Jim Fernandes was begun to restore the old Palace Market to her former beauty. The Ripleys helped behind the scenes and John and June Jane (Ripley) McVey donated all the proceeds from the McVey Dance Studio performances to the museum project.

With the help of its members, volunteers, contributions of individual, businesses and contractors, the Society was able to complete renovations in December of 2002.  The Society, under the direction of Thea Harris then began developing the displays that you see today depicting the community’s history. William Ellis and Idamae Ripley were present at the grand opening celebration in August of 2003 and rededicated the building to their daughter Sharon, who died in 1984.  The Turlock Historical Society hopes that all visitors to the museum appreciate the newfound glory of the old Palace Meat Market building. As you conclude a visit, please take time to read the plaque on the outside of the Museum about the building’s rededication.

In the Museum, we honor the Ripley Family and share the history of 108 S. Center Street in a photo collage behind the volunteer desk. Also in this area is the plaque honoring all those who donated time and materials for the building renovation; their efforts provide the wonderful setting for the Museum displays.