What good is a roadside attraction if it can’t sit along the side of the road? That’s the problem Gibsonton, Fla. — better known as Freaktown USA — is facing.
The town that was once home to the Monkey Girl, the Alligator Skinned Man and Lobster Boy is trying to preserve the memory of its most famous giant, Al Tomaini, with a memorial featuring a replica of his colossal boot. He reportedly stood 8 feet 4 inches tall.
Carol Philips, a former circus worker and wolf trainer, is spearheading the effort as chairwoman of the Concerned Citizens of Gibsonton. The group wants the monument to be placed along Highway 41, just south of Tampa and off the Alafia River.
That’s where the giant and his wife, Jeanie the Half Girl (she measured 2 feet 6 inches), built the Giant’s Camp restaurant and fishing cabins in the 1950s. It’s also where a huge Tomaini boot sat atop a concrete slab and served as a memorial for decades, until its recent deterioration.
However, the group faces one giant problem: Hillsborough County has said the monument must be set 50 feet away from the highway because it’s been designated as an accessory structure on commercial property.