Last updated: November 6, 2019.  See what’s new!      Go to:
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Please note:  The author of this website is not associated with nor has any contact with the current owners of River Ridge Farm.  River Ridge Farm is owned by a religious organization and is not open to the general public.  Most of the property lies behind locked gates and is not accessible.



This web page is dedicated to Ernesto L. Grandelis, the foreman who built River Ridge and to his family who lived in the farm’s Gate House for a generation.


My name is William L. Passauer.  I was born and raised in Oil City, PA near the historic River Ridge Farm where Congressman Joseph C. Sibley lived with his family and where President Woodrow Wilson and William Jennings Bryan wrote, "The 14 Points" that helped close World War I.  My wife’s grandfather, Ernesto L. Grandelis was the foreman responsible for building the mansion in an incredible 7 months.  If you read the history of this fine estate and the gentleman who lived here in "Destiny’s Gentleman" by Jack Mays, you will agree that the estate should have been preserved as a national treasure instead of being sold and its contents auctioned off to the highest  bidder.  If you search the internet for anything on the River Ridge Farm, Franklin, PA, you will come up empty–except for this site.  It is my hope that these pages will fill that void.  Here you will find the results of many years of effort.  I am certain that here you will find many images of River Ridge that you have never seen before and information that has remained unknown until now.  I hope you will enjoy what you see and read here and will pass its site address on to others.  Any site wishing to link to this site may do so without permission.  If you have photos, stories, records or other information you wish to share concerning River Ridge, please forward this information to: [email protected]. Full credit will be provided to the person submitting any used information.

All color images (except those specifically marked) were taken by William L. Passauer. All color images are copyrighted and may not be used without permission.


To read more about this print and the artist, please select this link

“Christmas was a very special time on the farm. In addition to the horse drawn sleighs, the special private parties held by the Sibleys and the many parties held among the workers families, there was always a very special children’s event sponsored by the Sibleys. Everyone would gather in the top floor of the blacksmith shop (I imagine because of the heat from the blacksmith’s fire). There you find a stage for the children to perform one of their special annual plays. One favorite was the “The Christmas Carol” or “Scrooge” as the children called it. During the party the children would all be given a special, top of the line toy such as an expensive baseball glove or doll. Then, everyone on the farm would be given $1.00 from the Sibleys. While a $1.00 bill doesn’t seem like much today, back in those days it was almost equal to a day’s wages. Church was also held in the top floor of the blacksmith shop on Sundays.” -Jack Beebe


William L. Passauer
[email protected]
Centreville, VA