Waldo Sexton was an entrepreneur during the Florida land boom. He came to Vero Beach in 1913, and died there in 1967 at age eighty-two. During his lifetime he developed citrus groves, a packing house, and a dairy, among other concerns. His eccentric ways are legend and well-documented. He collected treasures and antiques to satisfy his artistic visions. Many of these came from wealthy Palm Beach residents who lost their holdings during the Depression.

The most daring and creative of Waldo Sexton’s ideas was a mountain-a monument to himself, at which he wanted to be buried. Its height was not documented, but it must have been sizable, because the dirt from that mountain was moved, after his death, to save the Driftwood Inn from being eroded from years of storms along the coast. The mountain itself had steps going up the side, decorated with inlaid tile. On top were two chairs and a cross. He sat up there and viewed his holdings like a king. The pyramid-like monument was built on A1A, where the Ruddy Ducks Restaurant now stands. Locals remember climbing the steps of the mountain when they were young.

Haunt History

Judy Martin, current owner of the Ruddy Ducks Restaurant, said it was, ironically, her husband who had moved the soil from the mountain, at the request of Ralph Sexton, Waldo’s son, before Judy even owned the restaurant.

The previous owners were so haunted were so haunted by Waldo’s ghost that they asked a priest and later a psychic to free the restaurant of his spirit. The psychic insisted that Waldo only wanted recognition. The previous owner, Loli Heuser, said that unexplained things happened. Glasses broke in her hand for no reason, pictures fell from the wall, and an image of Waldo himself was seen once. She planned to erect a miniature statue of him to appease him. Judy Martin said when she became the owner, she put up pictures of Waldo Sexton in the office. They are still there, along with a picture of Waldo’s Mountain. In the restaurant a picture of Waldo is prominently displayed by the bar.

Evidently, the honor and recognition that Waldo Sexton wanted have been supplied by the present owner of the restaurant. There have been less frequent happenings, although occasionally Waldo reminds them of his mountain. Once a glass shattered in the bartender’s hand as he was getting ready to prepare a drink. Another night, as the owners were closing up for the evening and after they had turned off the lights, they heard a big crash from the kitchen area. Thinking the whole pot rack had fallen, they went back and turned on the lights in the kitchen. Nothing was out of place. "We cannot keep batteries," Judy Martin said. "The remote that controls our music, flashlight batteries-the energy just seems to drain right out of them. Even now we have difficulty keeping the batteries in flashlights. We’ve had other things happen, and I think, am I losing it? Other people would never believe this happened. There is something…." Judy Martin said that when she and her husband leave the premises at night, they remember to say, "Good night, Waldo," or "Keep good care of the place, Waldo." "We don’t forget him. I want to be on his good side," she said.

The restaurant is built in the form of a ship, with the prow extending out over the former site of Waldo’s Mountain. When the lights that decorate the outline of the prow are switched on after dark, they seem to point up toward the top of Waldo’s Mountain. He is remembered.


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