Sometime around 2009, the Mosaic company purchased the bit of land at the mouth of the Alafia River that was the site of the Giant’s Camp. Here the giant from the circus had built cabins in the winter starting in the 1930s (see references below for more history on the Giant). They offered them to any non-profit who could haul them away by a certain date, after which, all but one would be demolished.
Camp Bayou had received a grant from the Gulf Stream Gas Company to build an observation deck. The project had been held up in red tape for months with no end in sight. The grantor agreed to allow us to transfer the use of the funds to move the cabins instead of waiting on the observation deck project problems to be resolved.
Beginning in September 2009, a crew of volunteers, led by Frank Cummings, began the restoration of the cabins. They removed termite damaged and dry rotted framing and flooring joists but preserved as much of the historical base of the cabins as possible. Metal roofs were installed, windows replaced, damaged interior flooring removed and replaced, bathroom fixtures removed (they would not be hooked up and they were in sorry shape- the room became storage area), the outside re-sided (preserving as much of the original clapboard as possible) and painted. Most of the work was completed that winter although a few tasks still need attention.
The cabins are another component in our mission, part of which is to “to promote appreciation and better understanding of our natural resources, local history and culture through education.” One cabin holds exhibits and information about the historical uses of the river while the other is set up as if a person had just left to go fishing, with artifacts and memorabilia from a time long past.
The cabins are generally kept locked since it would be impossible to monitor visitor activities with our limited volunteer staff. Occasionally, a special event or workshop will be the prompt to open the cabins to the public. For this reason, it is important to have a cleanup day- semi-annually, at least- to sweep and dust and repair items that have been affected by time and humidity. Pressure washing and re-painting the exterior is another must do maintenance item that should be done every 5 years or so.
Donations of additional historic artifacts are always welcome such as fishing gear from the 40s-60s, pictures of life on the river during that time, display pieces such as empty cans of food with period labels, especially those that might have been brought along while camping. Monetary donations are always appreciated!
The cabins are NOT available for rental.