Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life

The Oddest Town in America

This month, the big tent is finally coming down. After 146 years, Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey are closing the ‘Greatest Show on Earth.’ The elephants have already retired to a farm in central florida. Where will the 400 human cast and crew members go next? Perhaps they’ll go just an hour west of that elephant farm…to Gibsonton, Florida. It was once known as the Oddest Town in America.

In the 1940s, Gibsonton – also known as Gibtown – became a hub for carnival sideshow performers in the off season. The fire chief was Al Tomaini the giant. The deputy of police was a dwarf. The sideshow fat man was also the town’s auto mechanic. And Gibsonton had the only post office in the country with a special counter for midgets.

But when I visited, years ago, Gibtown was more like a retirement village.

Now on the podcast: Remembering The Oddest Town in America.

The Radio Diaries Podcast is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX.

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