Many would likely be surprised that Waldo, Florida wasn’t always a quiet, sleepy small town. Once a bustling train town, Waldo was a busy city full of vacationers, people on business, and working residents, settled in 1820. In its glory days, Waldo boasted multiple swanky resort hotels, as well as multiple theatres and an opera house. All of these amenities were purely treats for the visitors of Waldo who arrived by train. Back then, Waldo was a prime stop for trains because of its location (which is still incredibly convenient with automobiles today). Memories of this bustling version of Waldo still linger around town, like the red train caboose in the city park.
The two businesses framing Waldo’s success in tourism are its flea market and antique village. The antique village, owned by Rosanna and Carl Smith, attracts visitors from across central Florida, all searching for the perfect treasure. The village can accommodate up to 65 vendors and attracts a large portion of Waldo’s visitors every year. Such antiques as the red caboose, though not for sale, are still attractive to newcomers, as they display Waldo’s pride as a small town, both of its rich history and its fortuitous future. The caboose is a reminder that Waldo is a great place not only to visit, but to stay. Waldo’s close proximity to other places in Alachua County and around Florida attracts new visitors who wish to live quietly on the outskirts while working in a bigger town.
For a complete listing of shops, restaurants, and activities, visit guidetogreatergainesville.com/directory.
CITY HALL ADDRESS
14655 Kennard St., Waldo, FL 32694
MAYOR CITY MANAGER
Louie Davis Kim Worley