Worth investigating! Research is the key to understanding all mysteries...
Aerial View of the Beautiful Coral Castlehttp://www.ravenecho.com/static/128/34143336215253b90e6566daf99837dc.jpg
If you had visited Coral Castle 60 years ago, you would have been greeted enthusiastically by a man weighing a mere 100 pounds and standing just over 5 feet tall. He would have asked you for ten cents admission and introduced you to his fantasy world carved out of stone.http://www.ravenecho.com/static/128/d28ab075087cd73fa5eaa456d90d886c.jpg
As you moved around his rock garden and the significance of each piece was explained, you could not help but notice the great pride Ed Leedskalnin took in his work.http://www.ravenecho.com/static/128/f626e31cc22134efe38cdcefd9d103bd.jpg
Since it is documented that no one ever witnessed Ed's labor in building his rock gate park, some say he had supernatural powers. Ed would only say that he knew the secrets used to build the ancient pyramids and if he could learn them, you could too!
Today, you can leisurely tour Coral Castle via our new 30 minute state of the art audio tour. Hear this fascinating story in English, Spanish, French or German, and see for yourself what millions saw on national TV's "That's Incredible", "In Search Of...", and "You Asked For It!" Even rock star Billy Idol wrote his hit song, "Sweet Sixteen" about Ed's lost love.
Now we wonder what exactly was the source of inspiration that drove this man for 28 years to carve a coral castle from ground using nothing but home made tools from junk parts. Unrequited love? Ancient sciences that defy gravity, or just sheer, raw human determination?http://www.ravenecho.com/static/128/d3549f7e49ff2c25ac9124468c2eaf62.jpg
The Coral Castle originally called "Rock Gate Park", was built by a single man, working alone and by himself. It took him 20 years to build - from 1920 to 1940. His name is Edward Leedskalnin. He was born in Latvia in 1887 and died in Miami in 1951 when he was 64.
When Ed was 26, he was engaged to marry Agnes Scuffs who was 10 years younger than he was. He always referred to her as his "Sweet Sixteen". On the day before the wedding, she told Ed she did not want to marry him because he was too old and too poor.
Edward Leedskalnin then embarked on a journey that would culminate in one of the world's most remarkable accomplishments. Over a period of twenty years, he sculpted and carved over 1,100 tons of coral rock. and eventually made his way to Canada and then down into California and Texas. He worked in the lumber camps and was involved in at least one cattle drive in Texas. These types of jobs gave Ed a strength which he later used in cutting and moving blocks of coral weighing many tons.
What makes Ed's work remarkable is the fact that he was five feet tall and weighed 100 pounds. At some point during Ed's wanderings he developed a touch of tuberculosis. He was told that South Florida had a good climate; so he came here sometime during the 1918 - 1920 period. For reasons unknown to us, Ed chose to carve a castle of coral in dedication to his "Sweet Sixteen".
This part of Florida is composed of coral, in some places as much as 4,000 feet thick, covered with only a few inches of topsoil. The remarkable feat was in cutting and moving huge coral blocks single-handily using hand tools.
People in the area became curious about the coral furniture that Ed was carving. You must understand that during the period that Ed was building the castle - both in Florida City and Homestead, we cannot find any record or any person who saw Ed work.
Ed remained in Florida City until about 1936. At that time, someone planned to build a sub-division near him. Since Ed was a very private person, he decided to move. He came to Homestead and bought 10 acres. Most every carving that you see inside of the Castle was carved in Florida City.http://www.ravenecho.com/static/128/805f98e033eefd60ec469e3b2048d0b1.jpghttp://www.ravenecho.com/static/128/a90afedf90c555e47cb82fb6c6cfb718.jpg
How did Ed move all of these carvings a distance of 10 miles? Ed had the chassis of an old Republic truck on which he laid two rails. He had a friend with a tractor who moved the loaded trailer from Florida City to Homestead. Many people saw the coral carvings being moved along the old Dixie Highway, but no one ever saw Ed loading or unloading the trailer. Ed did much of his work at night by lantern light. He seemed to have a sixth sense which told him when some one was trying to spy on him. The numerous lookouts along the Castle walls will attest to his suspicious nature.
The Castle's walls and gates prove his desire for privacy. In 1940, after the carvings were in place, Ed finished erecting the walls. Coral weighs approximately 125 pounds per cubic foot. Each section of wall is 8 feet tall, 4 feet wide, 3 foot thick, and weighs approximately 13,000 pounds. When asked how he was able to move the blocks of coral, Ed would say only that he understood the laws of weight and leverage. This from a man who only had a fourth grade education.
His incredible feats baffled engineers and scientist. They have compared Ed's secret method of construction to Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids.
Ed wrote a total of five pamphlets. "A Book In Every Home" contains Ed's thoughts on 3 subjects. "Sweet Sixteen, Domestic and Political Views". He wrote 3 pamphlets on "Magnetic Current". His "Mineral, Vegetable and Animal Life" contains his beliefs on life's cycle. These pamphlets are available only in our gift shop.
In December of 1951 Ed became ill. He put a sign on the door saying "Going to the Hospital". He took a bus to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. Three days later he died in his sleep. He was 64. After his death, a nephew living in Michigan, inherited the Castle. In 1953, shortly before his death, he sold the Castle to a family from Chicago. During the take-over, a box of Ed's effects were found and examined. It contained a set of instructions which led to the discovery of 35 - $100 bills - his life savings.
Ed made this money from giving tours at ten and twenty-five cents. Also from the sale of his pamphlets, and the sale of the land where the Highway U.S.1 passes the castle.
A different man. An interesting man. In many ways, an incredible man.http://www.ravenecho.com/static/128/74626290228adf7b935ece1672a1c926.jpg
Above: The house that Ed built.