On Saturday we went to visit one of Miami’s smaller tourist attractions, Coral Castle. The structure is comprised of numerous megalithic stones (mostly coral), each weighing several tons. Here’s the short story about this incredible place found just north of Homestead Florida.
Edward Leedskalnin (“Ed” seen life size next to my sister) was born in 1887 in Latvia. Jilted by his “True Love” Agnes one day before his wedding, understandably depressed, Ed left for America and set out on a lifelong quest to create a monument to his lost love. Ed’s unusual creation is called the Coral Castle. Ed without any outside assistance, or large machinery, single-handedly built the castle. He carved and sculpted over 1,100 tons of coral rock into walls, carvings, furniture and a castle tower.
What makes Ed’s work remarkable is the fact that he was just over 5 feet tall and weighed only 100 pounds. The individual pieces of coral that he worked with were sometimes 4,000 feet thick and weighed 26 tons. Incredibly, he cut and moved huge coral blocks using only hand tools. Ed refused to allow anyone to view him while he worked. A few teenagers, who claimed to have witnessed his work, said that he had caused the blocks of coral to move around like balloons.
Ed built the castle, which he originally named Rock Gate Park, in Florida City near the Everglades. The castle remained in Florida City until 1936 when Ed decided to move and take the castle with him. He spent three years moving the Coral Castle structures ten miles north from Florida City to its current location in Homestead. Ed continued to work on the castle up until his death from malnutrition in 1951. He put a sign on the door of the front gate saying “Going to the Hospital” and took the bus to a Miami hospital where he died three days later.
Many of the features of the castle are notable. Among them are a two-story castle tower that served as Ed’s living quarters, walls consisting entirely of eight foot high pieces of coral, an accurate sun dial, a Polaris telescope, an obelisk, a barbecue, a water well, a fountain, celestial stars and planets, and numerous pieces of furniture. The furniture pieces include a heart-shaped table, a table in the shape of Florida, twenty-five rocking chairs, chairs resembling quarter moons, a bathtub, beds, a cradle, a royal throne (the most comfortable seat in the place), and a chair for what would have been his mother-in-law (the most uncomfortable seat in his castle).
Click any of the 6 pictures above for larger versions