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Welcome - History of Waterside

Mike Wilhite - Thursday, February 07, 2013
Waterside was the dream of my father, Budd, who was a founding partner of one of the largest employee owned engineering firms in the US. His vision began in 1926 when his parents loaded up their Model A and headed form New Jersey to Miami to start a new life. They immediately started heading to Key Largo on weekends to explore this strange new paradise and all its' wonders. Budd and his best friend Bob returned from the Korean War and built the first outpost on Plantation Key. Then came the home made boat and a good paying job. Saving every penny he could, Budd was able to realize his dream of buying 12 acres on the ocean in 1960 and proceeded to create this wonderful and unique retreat form the real world. Having a good friend in Tallahassee advise him of the coming Marine State Park, Budd borrowed the necessary money from his mother to dig the only private ocean side channel in Key Largo. During that excavation process he had the idea of giving the State back the eastern most underwater acre in exchange for approval to build the island seaward of the mangrove line. The sheer brilliance of that move hits home as you stand on the balcony of Waterside overlooking the most stunning views in the Keys. As the island patiently awaited for Budd to get to the house building stage, the "square grouper" transporters discovered its' isolated location and proceeded to have their way until construction of the "Waterside" at The Elbow Light Club in 1983/84. Many old and new friends have traversed its' grounds and rooms since and all will confess that it is the hardest place on Earth to leave. So come prepared to anchor your toes in the sand and wrap your hand around a cold one and say a toast to Budd.
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