In a place where trains hustled in and out of the station and a sense of rush was always in the air, the town of Waldo now remains a calm, quiet town just north of Gainesville. The 2.2-square-mile town is home to just over 1,000 people. Founded in 1820, Waldo is one of the oldest towns in Alachua County. In its prime, Waldo was home to swanky hotels, the EL Toney cigar factory, opera house and two theaters. Nowadays, mementos from the past still sit in some parts of town. Two adjacent businesses attract visitors to Waldo – the Waldo Flea Market and Waldo’s Antique Village. Rosanna and Carl Smith own the antique village, which accommodates 65 vendors. Many come from all over Central Florida to spend a day hunting for the perfect antique just waiting to be found somewhere in Alachua County. Waldo was a destination for tourists traveling by train in the late 19th century, and the city still has an Amtrak stop. Today, the old red caboose in Waldo’s city park is the biggest symbol of its past. The caboose is said to serve as a reminder to the community that Waldo is still a wonderful place to live and raise a family. Its proximity to other places in Alachua County attract newcomers who like to be close to the bustle of a big town but still live quietly and peacefully on the outskirts. Waldo is located on U.S. 301 and at the northern end of Alachua County.
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