Something’s happening again at the Greeley Inn

Posted 5/29/24

Greeley, PA is named after famed journalist and U.S. presidential candidate Horace Greeley. As the 1900s dawned, the area prospered thanks to logging and coal mining. Trainloads of visitors from New …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Something’s happening again at the Greeley Inn


Greeley, PA is named after famed journalist and U.S. presidential candidate Horace Greeley. As the 1900s dawned, the area prospered thanks to logging and coal mining. Trainloads of visitors from New York City enjoyed the hunting, fishing and hiking that the surrounding countryside provided.

And there was always something happening at the Greeley Casino. You could count on it.

Opened more than one hundred years ago—in 1920—the Greeley Casino hosted banquets for local organizations such as the Greeley Grange. Owner-operator William H. Greenfield also staged plays and sponsored the Greeley Casino Five, a basketball team that faced opponents in the spacious ballroom.

By 1935, Greenfield was able to enlarge the barroom and install electric refrigeration. 

When Arthur and Margaret Friedel took on ownership, Saturday night dances—including VFW “Decoration Day” events—ran like clockwork for decades. There were also annual Easter egg hunts. 

In the 1960s, baseball games were played there. Swing dancing was a popular attraction in the 1980s, and the wedding business boomed in the 1990s.

It is safe to say that the Greeley Casino was the hub of the little town, which is currently populated by roughly 1,500 folks.

And why not? Situated on six acres, the casino—which was completely renovated in 2012, and is now known as the Greeley Inn—is a stone’s throw from canoeing, bicycling, golfing, eagle watching and horseback riding.

The inn itself is 9,000 square feet and has room for 120 people. The menu includes favorites like chili and smashburgers, and also contains this intriguing message:

“Also, imagine mom is cooking,” it states, “so if you don’t see something on the menu that you’d like—just ask, and we’ll do our best to make it for you.”

And now, Russ and Tanya Kardirov, the current owners, are hoping to make the Greeley Inn into a focal point again. In order to do that, they turned to musician Robert Tellefsen.

Tellefsen is a Brooklyn-born folk guitarist who spent many an hour strumming in Greenwich Village in the 1960s. As such, he played alongside the likes of Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. By 1969, he was living in Pennsylvania and knew just what back roads to take to avoid 17B to get to the Woodstock Festival.

It was there that he saw the musician who would have the biggest impact on him: Richie Havens. By the 1970s, they had become friends, and Tellefsen was subbing occasionally for guitarist Paul Williams in Havens’ band.

When the folk scene began to fade—thanks to “Wall Street and big record companies,” Tellefsen says—the former folkie took a straight job at IBM. Sadly, the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome forced him to put down the guitar.

But in the ‘90s, he met up again with Havens. When Tellefsen explained to Richie why he was no longer playing, Havens quickly showed him how to play the guitar his way—in open D-tuning, with his thumb curled over the top of the fretboard.

Tellefsen’s musical ambitions were reborn. Today, he fronts the Robert Tellefsen Band. And since Havens’ death in 2013, Tellefsen has also done numerous tribute shows in honor of his friend.

More recently, he determined to help get the Greeley Inn back on its feet.

“Michelle, the manager, told me the inn might be closing,” Tellefsen explains. “I was told that the Kardirovs were thinking about selling.”

Tellefsen did not want to see that.

“Give me two months,” he said to Michelle. “Let’s see what happens.”

Given the go-ahead, Tellefsen established the Greeley Inn Rising Star Open Mic on Monday nights, beginning at 6 p.m., and hosted by Robert Kearns. Before long, local musicians began filling up the beautiful ballroom. Tellefsen also books local bands for performances on Friday nights.

“It’s a chance to get people who don’t normally play in front of a big audience to do just that,” Tellefsen explains. “I want a music scene to come back to this area. I want this to be a place where people can eat, dance and hang out.”

One month in, the plan was starting to work. 

“They’re going to hold on,” the manager told Tellefsen.

In addition to the open mic and the Friday-night bands, line dancing has started. Future plans include community-based events—just like the good ol’ days.

The official kick-off of the summer music season will take place on Friday, May 31 with a performance by Mark McGrath. The Ohio-born McGrath has been singing since he was a little kid, with a voice that has taken him all the way to jobs on Broadway (“The Scarlet Pimpernel,” “Blood Brothers”) He’s also done Off-Broadway shows (“Forbidden Broadway”), commercial voiceovers (Ponderosa Steakhouse, AT&T), and television (“Once You Meet a Stranger,” opposite Jacqueline Bisset).

Plus, McGrath can sing in just about every style. He’s fronted concerts at the Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Symphony, and sung with the Staten Island Symphony, paying tribute to Bernstein and Sondheim. More recently, McGrath and his wife Lynne Wintersteller starred in “Brush 

Strokes” at the Philipstown Depot Theatre in Garrison, NY.

Mark is excited for his upcoming one-man concert at the Greeley Inn, which will feature his enduringly popular “60s/70s and MORE Variety Show!”

“I’ve sung in rock-and-roll bands for years,” McGrath says now. “Back home, there were some huge halls. Well, when I saw the ballroom here, I was bowled over—this could be a Mecca for comics, musicians, and other performers. It’s a great stage!”

“Mark’s show will cost $15 at the door,” Tellefsen says. “That’ll include the performance and a pot-luck buffet. It’s a great way to feature the ballroom, and set the stage for other events this summer.”

Watching the Greeley Inn come back to relevant life is a dream come true for both McGrath and Tellefsen.

“I really want to contribute to the area,” Tellefsen says. “It’s starting to work out.”

Interested readers can get more information by calling the Inn at 570/685-9997 or by emailing You may also want to visit their website,

Go listen—and enjoy a meal

The Greeley Inn
218 Rte. 590
Greeley, PA 18425

greeley inn, robert tellefsen, horace greeley,


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here