Small Town America, through the eyes of Waldo, FL

In a recent drive through Waldo, Florida on the way to the awesome Waldo Flea Market and Antique Village (the biggest in North Florida!!), I was surprised to find that this Florida Ghost Town looks a lot like the midwest – just warmer and with more palm trees.  The trains come less frequently, the downtown district is full of empty storefronts and vacant lots, and there wasn’t a person to be found.

Going throughout these sorts of towns in the Midwest I usually find that I can place a lot of the blame on Wal-Mart.  The big box that pays small salaries has obliterated much of our once-thriving small town squares and downtown districts.  While I don’t know this to be the reason for the state of Waldo, I’m sure that Mr. Walton isn’t far behind.

There is an odd beauty to these little ghost towns, and while this isn’t my home, it reminds me of all of our homes in small town America, and why we left.

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Lauren

Lauren Warnecke is a freelance writer and editor, focused on dance and cultural criticism in Chicago and across the Midwest. Lauren is the dance critic for the Chicago Tribune, editor of See Chicago Dance, and founder/editor of Art Intercepts, with bylines in Chicago Magazine, Milwaukee Magazine, St. Louis Magazine and Dance Media publications, among others. Holding degrees in dance and kinesiology, Lauren is an instructor of dance and exercise science at Loyola University Chicago.

4 thoughts on “Small Town America, through the eyes of Waldo, FL”

  1. My family just opened a gift/craft shop in one of the empty buildings in downtown Waldo. Hoping to bring it back to life. Next time you come through, stop in at Simply TTM and say hi.

    1. Certainly!! I hope to make it through there again next Christmas (I live in Chicago but visit family in Gainsville). Happy to support local business when passing through. Good luck! 🙂

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