John Waldron, Sr.
Born in Drogheda, Ireland, Waldron was the oldest child of John and Mary (Hughes) Waldron. A tanner by trade, he emigrated to the United States along with his two brothers after the death of his father in 1847.
Waldron came to Bloomington in 1856 after purchasing a tannery from David Juday. The family boarded temporarily with the mother of Mrs. J. C. Worley at a location where Whitaker's Grocery would later be, before moving to a cottage on West 4th Street. At that time there was no Catholic Church in Bloomington, so a monthly mass was held in the Waldron house.
Waldron invested much of the profits from his tannery in real estate. He built his home at Kirkwood Avenue and Madison Street (321 W Kirkwood, demolished in 1954), along with the residence of Ira Batman on Kirkwood, and the Blair-Waldron mansion on 320 W Kirkwood (demolished in the 1970s). Waldron lived in a mansion he had built at 321 W Kirkwood. The mansion was demolished in 1954 by Ralph Rogers who purchased the land from Frances and Ida Dunn and a grocery store was built in its place, later called Ralph's T-Mart and then Mace's Supermarket. He also owned much property on The Square, including, at his death, buildings occupied by C. F. Reed & Co., Urmey and Kinser, C.C. Turner & Co., and the Hinkle Meat Market, along with part of the Opera House.
In addition, Waldron was one of the first organizers and president of the electric light plant, and owner shares in the Waldron, Hill & Buskirk Spoke Factory, the Hunter Stone Co., the Central Stone Mill, the Empire Stone Co., and the Bloomington Telephone Company.
Waldron was married to the former Anna Bonecum in 1848 and they had eleven children: Mrs. William Blair, Mrs. Ira Batman, John B. Waldron, Jr., James Waldron, W. J., Joseph, Lucy, Cecilia, Alice, Emma and Ida.