Did you know there’s a town in Florida that was home to off-season circus freaks? Gibsonton, FL, just south of Tampa was where carnies would go in the winter. The post office even has a special counter just for the dwarves. In addition to the dwarves, it was also home to the Lobster Boy, the Anatomical Wonder and Percilla the Monkey Girl. There was even a pair of Siamese Twins with a fruit stand.
The city had zoning laws to fit its circus inhabitants: one was allowed to keep elephants and circus trailers on their front lawns. Sadly though, Gibsonton’s last known freak passed away in 2001. Melvin Burkhart, the Human Blockhead, died of a stroke. He hammered nails into his nostrils, yet died of a stroke. Sweet.
If you decide to visit Gibsonton (or “Gibtown”), you won’t find much left. There are still people living there, but they are sadly normal. The town itself doesn’t have much to offer in the way of entertainment, either. The residents have a hard time finding work and staying above the poverty line. However, there is still a huge boot on display in front of what used to be Giants Camp Restaurant. I’m sure you can guess the freak who owned that place. But the boot is falling apart now and not much to look at.
It’s really what Gibsonton used to be that is so amazing. Only in Florida will you find a winter town for circus freaks. And here I was, with no idea that the circus even stopped touring in the winter? Here in the Sunshine State we open our towns up to all the snowbirds, the bluehairs, the people who just want to go somewhere warm in winter. I guess circus freaks are no different.
I think we’ve all learned an important lesson here today.
If you’re a dwarf, you finally have a post office counter you can see over.