Waldo City Hall
Waldo City Hall
Red Caboose in downtown Waldo, Florida

Waldo has the dubious distinction of having been declared one of only two official "speed traps" in the country by the American Automobile Association because of the local police force's rabid enforcement of the speed limit on US Highway 301 through the town.

Waldo lies along what was once known as Florida's "Bellamy Road." Back in those days, the settlement was known as Bellamy Plantation. When the railroad came through, the name was changed to Waldo in honor of Dr. Benjamin Waldo of Ocala, a physician and close friend of the railroad's founder. Before too long, Waldo had several resort hotels, two theaters and an opera house. The railroad did a brisk business bringing in hunters, fishermen and boaters. Citrus and other crops also did very well in the area, until the freezes of 1899 brought two inches of snow and temperatures stayed below freezing for four days. That was the end of the citrus and of much of the leisure traffic.

The Great Depression began in Florida in the late 1920's (even before the big stock market crash). That was also when the railroad decided to move their operations out of Waldo. Before too long, many of the homes and businesses in town were abandoned. Some prosperity came back in the 1940's with the construction of a military training base in nearby Starke but Waldo has never recovered its former glory.

The population of Waldo is up more than 23% since 2000.