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Gibsonton was a popular winter fishing destination for many carnival and sideshow workers in the 1940s according to Mark Caramanica. It was the only place in the U.S. where the former fire chief was over eight feet tall and the local police chief was a dwarf! Gibtown, as it’s called, was near the winter home for the Ringling Brothers Circus at Tampa, Sarasota and Venice. Wikipedia states that the 2010 census showed there were 14,000+ people living in Gibtown. The original ‘Gibtown Showmen’s Club’ building opened in 1966 and expanded to be the largest Showmen’s Association in America. There are 4500+ members which include foreign countries as well as the United States. Gibsonton was the home of the largest trade show in the carnival business. The library at USF (University of South Florida) has digitized many of the photos that are located in the Museum and are a part of USF Special Collections. The photos date from the 1800s. USF also has a collection of oral histories from previous residents. To access this photo collection http://digital.lib.usf.edu/showmens is the link. If you’d like to browse the oral history collection use the following link http://digita.lib.edu/ohp-showmens.
- Title: "Gibtown": Winter Home of the Carnival Industry
- Abstract/Description: Gibsonton is famous for being a "wintering town" for the traveling Carnival industry attracting carnival workers, including several sideshow performers, as winter (and later full time) residents. This collection will feature many of the people and places that made "Gibtown" home to this fascinating ...
- Title: Gibsonton - Photo Collection
- Abstract/Description: Historical photographs of Gibsonton. Photos specifically referring to the Carnival Industry are contained in the "Gibtown" collection.