Waldron, Indiana

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Waldron
Unincorporated community
Waldron is located in Indiana
Waldron
Waldron
Coordinates: 39°27′13″N 85°40′01″W / 39.45361°N 85.66694°W / 39.45361; -85.66694Coordinates: 39°27′13″N 85°40′01″W / 39.45361°N 85.66694°W / 39.45361; -85.66694
Country United States
State Indiana
County Shelby
Township Liberty
Elevation[1] 823 ft (251 m)
ZIP code 46182
FIPS code 18-79568[2]
GNIS feature ID 445366

Waldron is an unincorporated community in Liberty Township, Shelby County, Indiana.

History[edit]

Prior to white settlement, the land surrounding Waldron was occupied by Native American tribes, most notably the Iroquois.[citation needed] Artifacts found in the local area indicate that smaller bands, such as the Miami people, Lenape (Delaware) and Hopewell were also present.[citation needed] Among artifacts found in the area are spear and arrow heads and beaded and copper bracelets.

Waldron was settled in 1854 just off the Michigan Road along what later became the New York Central and Penn Central railroads. Its original name was Stroupville, named after George Stroup, who owned the land on which the town was platted. The founding families of the town included the Haymond, Thompson, and Coffin families.[citation needed] Disliking the name Stroupville, town citizens voted to change the name to Waldron, allegedly after a farm implement company located in Ohio.[citation needed] In its heyday, the town boasted all of the commercial and industrial amenities of a small city with the benefit of an abundance of rich agricultural land. Waldron had several saloons, hosting all-night card games in back rooms. William Haymond was murdered in one of the saloons after disputing the outcome of a card game. His body was disposed along the rail line several miles outside of town.[citation needed] Despite its boom, however, Waldron never grew beyond a small unincorporated community. For the most part, the town center has remained much as it has always been, with false front buildings giving the impression of larger structures. The buildings have, over the years, housed one type of business or another with periods of vacancy depending on the economic climate. The Cummins House, once a hotel, is one of the oldest buildings in town still standing. The Methodist (est. c. 1850) and Baptist (est. 1896) churches, and the volunteer fire department were, and remain to be, important centers of both religious and community events. According to oral histories, a stop on the Underground Railroad was not far from the town.[citation needed]

Throughout the town's limited growth, various means of entertainment were employed by the local townsfolk. Beginning in the 1930s, the town would occasionally show outdoor movies, the images projected on the side of one building or another. In the 1940s and 50s, "Minstrel Days" was the town's variety show, with performances by many of the town's adults for the entertainment of children. In 1950, the annual 4 July "Kiddie's Day" was put on by the Community Club, and became a beloved tradition for many years. The celebration included games, snack vendors, fireworks and a parade in which anyone in town was welcome to participate. Though "Kiddie's Day" faded, the town continued to host an annual fireworks show for years to come. The fireworks display was widely regarded one of the best in the state. Fish fries, bean suppers, and pitch-in dinners alternated between the fire station and the churches. The Community Club organized fundraisers to support town needs or aid local families. In October of each year, the fire station hosted an annual Halloween party. In the 1980s, water ball tournaments became a day of fun. Water ball pitted two competing fire crews with hoses against one another, each crew attempting to hose back a ball suspended from a rope or wire. Boys could also join the local Boy Scouts, Troop 220. Proms and dances were also popular pastimes for high school students. In the summer, youth baseball and softball, and later soccer, became the main activities for kids.

As with most small Indiana towns, high school basketball provides most of the town's winter recreation. The 1916 team, which posted an 11-2 record, was one of the first teams fielded at the high school.[citation needed] The 1926-27 team, under coach and school principal Thomas Fogarty, won at least twenty games in a row, a feat unheard of at that time. They lost in the Columbus regional to Frankfort; their only loss of the season.[citation needed] In 1929, the school coined their nickname "Mohawks". Mary Rhoades is credited with naming the mascot, and Waldron remains the only school in the United States with the Mohawk as its mascot.[citation needed] In 2004, the Mohawks won the Class A Indiana High School Athletic Association Boys' Basketball Tournament, finishing the season with a perfect 27-0 record under coach Jason Delaney.[citation needed] The school has won seven sectionals, two regionals, one semistate, and one state title in state tournament play.[citation needed] In addition to the state tournament the basketball team vies for the Mid-Hoosier Conference and the Shelby County Tourney crowns. Since 1940, an important part of county rivalries has been the Victory Bell, a traveling trophy up for grabs each time a county school possessing the bell meets a rival county school (excluding Shelbyville High School, located in a municipality) in the regular season. Each year, the Senior varsity basketball player with the highest grade point average is presented with the coveted Tony Lux award. Tony Lux was a Waldron graduate and United States Marine who was killed in action during the Vietnam War.[citation needed]

In 1890 a natural gas vein exploded near Waldron creating large fissures in the earth at the mouth of Conn's Creek and the Flat Rock River. The concussion shattered windows and cracked masonry in homes in the surrounding area. The explosion made the front page of the New York Times and served as the basis for the fall and explosion of the mythological Fire Bear in Charles Major's, The Bears of Blue River.[citation needed]

Over the years, Waldron had several masonic, community, and agricultural organizations including the Community Club, Freemasons, Eastern Star, Extension Club, 4-H, and the Farmer's Association. The KKK were active in the area in the 1920s when the organization was at the height of its political power in the state.[citation needed]

From 1902 to 1929 the Indianapolis to Cincinnati Traction Company's interurban rail line had a station and ticket office in town. In 1903, the town survived a flood in which water, reportedly two feet deep, flowed down Main Street.[citation needed] In 1914 and 1938 large fires destroyed several of the older buildings in town. The Waldron Volunteer Fire Department was chartered in 1947 to reduce response time from the Shelbyville Fire Department. In 1963, the Waldron Conservancy District was created by local leaders to oversee the town's water resources. In 1970, there was a train wreck near the town center that overturned several coal cars, thereby dumping tons of coal along the rail bed. Coal from the wreck still litters the line in that area and in some places parts of the train, still buried, jut out from the land.[citation needed]

In the 1980s, as shopping centers became the fashion, dependence on railroads declined, and agricultural ventures failed, Waldron like many small towns began to decline. The local bank, the State Bank of Waldron, was sold and subsequently shuttered, as were the local gas stations, appliance store, restaurants, and various other businesses. Today, one restaurant, a general store, a gas company, a plumbing and heating supply, auto repair shops, the telephone company, furniture factories and surrounding farm and grain operations provide the bulk of the town's sustenance.

Waldron is known for its shale, due to the richly preserved fossils embedded within.[citation needed] Waldron Shale has been studied by paleontologists around the world.

Geography[edit]

Waldron is located at 39°27′13″N 85°40′01″W / 39.45361°N 85.66694°W / 39.45361; -85.66694.

Climate[edit]

The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Waldron has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[3]

Schools[edit]

Waldron Junior Senior High School [1] and Waldron Elementary School [2] are both located in the town of Waldron. They are a part of the Shelby Eastern School District [3]. The first school was opened in 1873 and Waldron High School graduated its first class in 1899.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ Climate Summary for Waldron, Indiana