River Ridge Gate House

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The gate house near Franklin, PA where the Ernesto Grandelis family lived. 

Painting by Albert T. Grandelis. 

Note the original route of the roadway.  Mr. Sibley would meet his Franklin arriving guests

here for the 3 mile journey to the mansion.  He did so because he felt the

roadway was dangerous due to the cliff facing the Allegheny river.




The Franklin Gate House as it sets in 2007. 

The original path of the road has been diverted north of its original route

so that it no longer passes through the house gate which can be seen just to the left of the main house.




The front of the Franklin Gate house in 2007. 


Ernesto Grandelis (the foreman responsible for the building of the River Ridge mansion) lived here with his family of five children.  The family was permitted to live in the the gate house even after the untimely death of Ernesto Grandelis at age 40 due to ingesting stone dust.  The Grandelis children use to go to school in a horse drawn carriage and in the Winter via a horse drawn sleigh.  The children of Franklin made fun of them, but I find it very romantic.

Aug. 10, 2008 - The following information was relayed to my wife today by her cousin's wife, Judy Grandelis.  Judy told Suzanne of a young couple that she knows who use to live in the gate house.  They told her that while they lived there, a "good sprit" whom they named, "Marie" also lived with them.  They believed the sprit looked over their baby, keeping her safe.  On several occasions, they watched as their rocking chair rocked on its own, on another occasion the mother watched as the baby's blanked covered their baby--by itself.  They also told of a night light that seemed to automatically turn itself on, even though it had to be manually turned on using a switch.




The left side of the Franklin Gate house. 

Note:  The roof of the mansion originally had red tile like this.




The Franklin gatehouse porch (former drive through area). / 2009 T. Weldon       The Franklin Gate House in the Winter time. / 2009 T. Weldon



The Cold cellar behind the Franklin gatehouse./ T. Weldon             The pond to the left of the Franklin gatehouse.  Its a shallow pond

                                                                         but there were koi in it at one time.  / T. Weldon




The Grandelis Family Lived in the Franklin Gate House from about 1914 to 1945.


For access to the Grandelis Family Tree website, click here.




Ernesto Louis Grandelis (December 26, 1884 - November 13, 1925), the foreman responsible for the building of the River Ridge Mansion, all of the stone out buildings, and the stone bridges and fences.  He died at the age of 40, from inhaling stone dust, in the bedroom of the Franklin Gate House.  His last request was for a glass of buttermilk which his wife brought him.  See more pictures of Ernesto on the History page.



Ernesto and his wife Edith Virginia Grandelis




Albert Grandelis, age 18, 1927 Franklin, PA High School graduation picture.  The only time he had a "B" on his report card was in the year his father Ernesto Grandelis passed away.  Albert Grandelis, my father-in-law, became the man of the house at the early age of 16 when his father died.  He managed his mother's home on River Ridge with his two younger brothers (Henry and Ernest  ) and his two younger sisters (Edith and Mary).  Albert was placed in charge of all of the farm children during the Summer months to earn money for the family.  He and his family lived in the Gate House well into the 1940s while Sibley's two daughters were still running the farm.  My mother-in-law went to the Gate House when she was dating Albert.  Albert lived from May 18, 1909 - May 25, 1994)



Edith Virginia Grandelis, wife of Ernesto L. Grandelis (the building foreman) and mother of Albert, Ernest, Henry, Edith and Mary Grandelis at he Franklin Gate House.  Notice the gate in the background.  My mother-in-law, Millie Grandelis, remembers that when Virginia (a good Italian wife) would cook, there was always tons of food served including three meats at each meal.  Edith Virginia (Colloto) Grandelis lived from October 22, 1891 to November 1976)




Aunt Rose holding Henry, Edith, Mary, and Albert Grandelis in front of the Franklin Gate House abt. 1916.  Brother Ernest was not born yet.  Notice the large bows in the girls hair.  The children birth information is: Edith Marie: March 03, 1908; Albert Theodore: May 18, 1909 - May 25, 1994, Mary Elizabeth: February 28, 1913 - ?; Henry Leonard Hammond: April 19, 1915 - October 04, 1984; and Ernest Louis: April 20, 1920 - July 1982.





The Grandelis family dog Stubby at the Franklin Gate House.  Notice the different views of the Gate House gates in the background.





Albert Grandelis' sisters Mary and Edith at the Franklin Gate House. 

Notice how young the trees were in the background.

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