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Giants Camp Memorial dedicated

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Giants Camp Memorial dedicated

By MELODY JAMESON

IMG_1428More than 100 guests representing Gibsonton’s famed Tomaini family, concerned local residents and officials last week helped formally dedicate the multi-feature memorial to the mid-20th century tourist resort built by the late gigantic Al Tomaini and his diminutive wife, Jeanie, on the south shore of the Alafia River. The collection of tiny white cabins, bait house, roadside attractions and restaurant was known far and wide, a stopover popular with tourists and locals alike for many years. Now owned by Mosaic, which also has developed an expansive environmental classroom further west of the memorial and operates a phosphate processing plant on the river’s north shore, the site includes a restored cabin (below) described by Carol Phillips (at the microphone), longtime resident and member of Gibsonton’s civic group which worked closely with phosphate company to create the site. A granite pedestal, topped with a permanent replica of the huge boot that for years symbolized the Giant’s Camp (right), rises in front of the cabin and recognizes the Tomainis as community leaders. But tears flowed most when Jim Johnson, Mosaic public affairs representative, (below) presented grand daughter Tina Tomaini a framed sole from the actual boot found in one of the cabins.  The site, including community welcome signage,is enclosed within black wrought iron fencing, preserving the open and airy appeal that must have attracted the Tomainis six decades ago.

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