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What's in a name? Sam M. Gibbons United States Courthouse

A federal courthouse stands as a monument to a man with a spotless career in Congress.

By MICHAEL CANNING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 14, 2002

The home of Tampa Bay's federal judiciary has 17 stories. That's one for every consecutive term in Congress served by its namesake.

As a 34-year undefeated veteran of Congress, former U.S. Rep. Sam M. Gibbons holds a monolithic stature in local politics. The Tampa native graduated from Plant High School and earned his law degree at the University of Florida. He was an Army paratrooper in World War II. Before his 1962 election to the U.S. House of Representatives, he served in the Florida House and Senate.

Gibbons' political career is unblemished, bookended by the creation of the University of South Florida in the '50s and funding for the federal courthouse that would bear his name. Toward the end of his congressional run, he served as chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee. In 1996, he announced his retirement at age 76.

The $85-million courthouse at 801 N Florida Ave. in downtown Tampa opened in 1998.

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