The Story of Louis Ridenouer

The OFRC family may be interested to know the history of Louis Ridenouer, the first Anglo settler and owner of the land which later became OFRC.

Louis Williams Ridenouer came to California in 1849 in search of gold.  He had some success,  earning about $10,000 in gold mining.  But soon made his way to SF down the Petaluma River with his team of Oxen, and was looking for land which was not related to a land grant.  Based on past history, he didn’t want anything to do with land grants.  After first being swindled by a partner who was supposed to buy cattle, he ended up at the Russian River outside the boundaries of the El Molino Rancho.  He homesteaded land near what we now call Hacienda as the only Anglo settler in the area.  He tried his hand at growing grapes, corn, alfalfa and prunes on a 24-acre farm, later expanding his land holdings to include what is now OFRC and other locations along the river.  He eventually built the Ridenouer family home (recently been rebuilt and surrounded by art installations).

Adapted from and more info at:
Russian River Reach and Hacienda Cosmo


Ridenouer Family
Ridenouer Home
River Map Showing Ridenouer Property
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