Waldo's Historic Businesses

Sometimes the question has been asked,  "How did Waldo gain designation as a city?".  It was a center of activity in the area with many thriving businesses.  Listed here will be most of the businesses with the owners names which could be found.  They provided employment for many people.

Alexander Store  -- L.V.Alexander came to Florida from Reynolds, Ga.  Soon afterward he married Nora Preston of Melrose on August 26, 1915, he became owner of this brick building.  He sold, shoes, hats, and general men's wear.  His wife sold dress goods and children's clothes.

Sparkman Store,  204 SW 5th Blvd,  This store was rebuilt in brick by T.B. 'Ben' Tillis after the fire in 1893 destroyed the wood frame buildings on Waldo's business block.  The next owners were Charles Richard Sparkman (the grandson of William Sparkman) and his son Claude.  The Sparkman store remained when other buildings, including the old three-story Cigar Factory, the Opera House (1872-77), and the Waldo Hotel (1869), were razed in the 1920's and 30's.   Sparkmans were the proprietors until 1966.

There were three saw mills in the Waldo area.   With the expansion of the city,  there was a large demand for lumber for building.   N.A.Harris was owner of one of them.

There was a blacksmith shop, a wheel-wright shop, cotton-gin,  amd the American Ice & Cold Storage co.

There were also three grist mills to provide flour and corn meal.

The fish market was operated by Oscar and Gertie Hall.

There was a Pickle factory  and a Peanut Butter factory

G.H.Auburn was the notary Public

BR Byran had a restaurant

G.A. Wenzel was a baker

E. Pertz operated the Railroad Restaurant

J.W. Cotton was a jeweler

E.P. Davis was a teacher

E.M. Day was a barber

N.E. Farell was a realtor

A. Jolley was a Physican and Pharmacist

J.H. Stovall was also a Physican

A. Whitney was the Telegraph Operator

J.B.Jennard ran a livery stable

G. Lightman was one of the Pastors of the Baptist Church

A garage was owned and operated by Charlie Williams.

Other businesses which provided employment were the pickle factory and the peanut factory.  The cigar factory at times employed as many as 90 people.

There were two schools, five churches, express and telegraph-office, a daily mail route going in four different directions, and a money-order post office. The headquarters of the Sante Fe Canal are located here. 

Old AdsCarriage Manufacturer,  D. Hicks, was located near the depot.  He built all kinds of carriages, business wagons and farm wagons with the greatest care, receiving orders from all parts of the State.  Mr. Hicks was also a practical trimmer, and took pride in his personal attention to the trimming of carriages of his own make, as well as those brought to him for repairs.  He had a blacksmith's forge in connection with his business, and his work compares most favorable with the best in the country,  Mr. Hisks has a find orange grove.  He has some 400 trees on from 8 to 10 acres, most of which are in bearing, and which gave him a generous income aside from his regular business.

Old AdsEdward Renault & Bros - operated a City market.

Dr. L. Renault did much to built up Waldo and its surrounding area.  He was a physician and surgeon from the faculty of Paris, France.   He also had an Apothecary Store and a vineyard and orange grove with 2000 trees,    He bought and retrieved swampy land on which he grew his crops.

Renault also had the Renault house which rented for $7.00 per week and $1.50 per day.

Raulerson & Ambrose - had a thriving business in general merchandise,  buying cotton from the growers and paying them high prices.

D.L.Ferguson also operated a general merchandise store and did much business trading with the farmers for miles around. He had a farm with cattle,  also an orange grove of 5 acres in town.

The El Toney Cigar Factory employed from 50 to 90 people, depending on the season.  The original factory was located in downtown Waldo next to the Opera House. They  burned when the business section was wiped out by fire in 1883. This was a report given in Bettee DeSha's book, but no verification of the fire taking place can be found.

  Mr.M. Entenza built the building on 2nd Ave and Kennard St. (now Rt 24).  The Historic building still stands and is in use.  There is physical evidence of a grist mill next to this building.

El Toney Cigar Factory
Former El Toney Cigar Factory

Louise Ashley

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August 17, 2003
Waldo, Florida, USA