GIBSONTON / SOUTH SHORE, FL – JUNE 6: Al Tomaini’s size-25 boot sits on a pedestal in front of a restored fish shack along US 41. It serves as a testament of how big Al actually was in stature and in the Gibsonton community as well.
Tomaini stood 8 feet, 4 inches tall, weighed 256 pounds and spent most of his life as a sideshow performer as The Giant.
He met his wife, Evelyn Jeannie Smith (The Half Girl), while they were both performing at the 1936 Great Lakes Exposition in Cleveland, Ohio.
They elope to Niagara Falls and eventually settled in the small South Shore town of Gibsonton, Florida.
Jeanie was 2 feet, five inches tall, born without legs. Together they became strong civic leaders in Gibsonton and toured as The World’s Strangest Married Couple.
Al owned The Giant’s Fishing Camp & Restaurant, served as fire chief for a time and was president of the Chamber of Commerce as well.
Al died in 1962 at age 50 due to treatment for a pituitary tumor. Shortly after, Jeanie placed Al’s 35-inch-tall boot outside their home as a memorial.
Jeanie Tomaini continued running the The Giant’s Fish Camp & Restaurant until her death in 1999.
In honor of the family, Tomaini’s boot now sits on an 8 foot, 4 inch pedestal in front of a restored fish shack from The Giant’s Fish Camp & Restaurant along US-41 approximately where the original shacks once stood.
They now serve as landmarks in Gibsonton and on Halloween the boot gets filled with candy for the children.
See Youtube video with Tim Long who visits Gibsonton, including The Giant’s Fish Camp & Restaurant that is now torn down. (opens on YouTube in new window)
The boot and the fishing cabin along Hwy 41 not only stands as a memorial, but a reminder of the couple’s love for each other and their work in the community that still lives on today.