Monday, October 16, 2006

Waldo Sexton

Waldo Sexton was many things in his life -- farmer, realtor, developer, promoter, artist -- but always a man led by his own visions. Although elemental in the development of Vero Beach, Sexton is best remembered today as a man who could take what others threw away and turn it into something worth saving.

Waldo Sexton came to Florida as a traveling farm equipment salesman, and stayed to sell Florida to anyone who would listen. He sold land, and oranges, and adventure.

While all people have creative impulses, these urges were larger and brighter in Sexton than for the average person. Waldo was an incuarable collector. No matter where he traveled, around the state, country, or world, he bought antiques, bells, wood, architectural salvage, and anything that caught his eye. With these materials he created one-of-a-kind buildings, many of which still stand in Vero Beach, and are open to the public.

The Driftwood Inn

The Driftwood Inn started out as a beach house, but became a hotelrun by the Sexton family. The miscellany that has made up the Driftwood over the years includes a bell from Henry Flagler's train, mastadon bones, stair railings fromt he Royal Poinciana Hotel, iron grillwork from the Dodge Estate in Palm Beach, a bell from Harriet Beecher Stowe's house -- pieces of Florida.

The Ocean Grill

The Patio Restaurant

McKee Jungle Garden


  1. Anonymous9:37 PM

    Wow, this is great. Do you know anything about "Waldo's Mountain"?

  2. Waldo's Mountain is a fascinating stoy. In fact, his grandson, Sean Sexton has written a children's book titled "Waldo's Mountain: A Brief History of a Small Elevation" (Waterview Press, 2002). It's packed with photographs. The mountain began as a pile of dredge dirt, but Sexton turned it into a Mayan pyramid, or as he thought of it, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Spanish tile from a demolished Palm Beach mansion, concrete pedestals from an old water tower, fancy balustrades, and ornate metalwork gates created the "second highest point between Key West and Kitty Hawk." The mountain isn't there anymore -- the dirt was used to shore up the Driftwood after a 1970s hurricane.

  3. Anonymous9:22 AM

    just to let everyone know, The Patio Resaurant is now closed, hopefully not for long. this is as of June 2008

  4. Anonymous11:33 AM

    PATIO is OPEN mgt of course...supposed to be good..?? Nov 2009.

  5. It appears to be a Mexican restaurant now, El Toro or something...

  6. Anonymous7:08 PM

    no it is now a bar


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