Colonel Sidney Dunn Waldon was born in London, England on January 29, 1873, son of James Ley and Julia (Dunn). Educated in London and South Kensington Schools, the Colonel came to the United States in 1893. The Colonel was vice-president of Packard Motor Company and then became vice-president of Cadillac Motor Company. He belonged to the Detroit Athletic Club, Grosse Pointe Country Club and Bloomfield Hills Country Club. Mr. Waldon had numerous interests, most importantly being aviation. He helped with the promotion of air races, flew with the Wright Brothers and was a member of an aviation circle. The Colonel was also responsible for creating a landing field near Mt. Clemens, which is now known as Selfridge Air Force Base. When the United States entered World War I, Colonel Waldon enlisted and was one of the men picked to help build the United States Air Force.
Desiring a place to live where he could escape the outside world, Colonel Waldon purchased 840 acres of land in Clarkston, Michigan in 1927. He hired H. A. O'Dell to design a home for him. The result was a 19 room English Manor residence located atop the highest point in Southeastern Michigan, the elevation is 1221 feet. The Carriage House was constructed several hundred feet away from the mansion for the caretaker and his family. Behind this home were barns that housed his fine thoroughbreds and exquisite carriages.
One of the most impressive rooms of the Mansion is the "Great Hall" with it's gracefully arched ceilings, and acoustically perfect design. It's East and West walls are comprised of ceiling to the floor arched windows offering magnificent views of the sunrise and sunset. The Colonel's library, which is still the library, is located just off the main entrance. He imported materials from all over the world and employed European craftsman to complete much of the work. For example, the oak screen, wood paneling and stone fireplaces took almost three years to carve. These artisans also crafted the stained glass windows and arched ceilings.
Colonel Waldon passed away on January 20, 1945 at the age of 72.
Upon your visit to the Pine Knob Mansion and the Carriage House, include a tour of perhaps the most impressive landscape in Michigan. The Mansion is surrounded by a serpentine wall on the south side. The natural elevation affords views in excess of 30 miles of the surrounding communities and landscape. The Mansion is uniquely located on a hill overlooking a championship 27 hole public golf course. The Carriage House, with its beautiful windows that reach from the ceiling to the floor, allows for a picturesque view of the 1st hole. The golf course, rated as one of the best public courses in Michigan, winds through the former Waldon Estate and was designed to compliment the natural beauty of the land.
Today the Pine Knob Mansion is governed by some of the early principles set down by Colonel Waldon and his staff. We must trust that Colonel Waldon would be proud that his great house is still standing and providing hospitality to all who seek it.