Cities Journal

This Is One Of America’s Quirkiest Towns


There used to be a time when the United States was bursting at the seams from small, unique places that held their own sort of charm, that were entirely singular and irresistible, each in their own way. Unfortunately, many of these little towns have been lost, amalgamated into large cities or turned into Average Town, U.S.A.

One little town that is still standing proud in its quirkiness is Gibsonton, Florida, sometimes known as Gibtown. This small, 15,000 people town has always been known for its residents and a very special history that many of them shared. Namely, for the better part of the 20th century, this town – located only 12 miles south of Tampa – was the winter home of circus performers and especially sideshows from all over the country.

At one point or another, its residents included the Lobster Boy, the Anatomical Wonder, Percilla the Monkey girl and many, many others. It was also a town that catered to its residents, with low-positioned post office counters for  dwarves, strengthened bar stools for especially large people and with unique zoning laws which enabled residents to keep large animals such as tigers or elephants on the front lawns.

These days, due to the fact that sideshows have all but disappeared, there are no “freaks” (to use the vernacular) living in Gibsonton, but it is still a very unique little town where you can experience something truly different and  peculiar.

Prev1 of 2Next

Stay In Touch

Recommended For You

The Latest