Coral Castle is a weird little historical landmark that has been on my bucket list of places to visit ever since my dad told me about it five years ago. It was about a four and a half hour drive from where my boyfriend lives in Orlando, so we drove to go see it this past weekend. Finally!
Here’s some background on the castle obtained from Wikipedia:
Coral Castle is a stone structure created by the Latvian American eccentric Edward Leedskalnin(1887–1951) located in Leisure City, Florida, in Miami-Dade County at the intersection of South Dixie Highway (U.S. 1) and SW 157th Avenue. The structure comprises numerous megalithic stones (mostly limestone formed from coral), each weighing several tons. It currently operates as a privately operated tourist attraction. Coral Castle is noted for legends surrounding its creation that claim it was built single-handedly by Leedskalnin using reverse magnetism or supernatural abilities to move and carve numerous stones weighing many tons.
According to the Coral Castle’s own promotional material, Edward Leedskalnin was suddenly rejected by his 16-year-old fiancée Agnes Skuvst in Latvia, just one day before the wedding. Leaving for America, he came down with allegedly terminal tuberculosis, but spontaneously healed, stating that magnets had some effect on his disease.
Edward spent more than 28 years building the Coral Castle, refusing to allow anyone to view him while he worked. A few teenagers claimed to have witnessed his work, reporting that he had caused the blocks of coral to move like hydrogen balloons. The only tool that Leedskalnin spoke of using was a “perpetual motion holder”.
When asked why he had built the castle, Leedskalnin would vaguely answer it was for his “Sweet Sixteen”. This is widely believed to be a reference to Agnes Skuvst (whose often-misspelled surname “Scuffs” is not even a legitimately formed Latvian word). In Leedskalnin’s own publication A Book in Every Home, he implies his “Sweet Sixteen” was more an ideal than a reality. According to a Latvian account, the girl existed, but her name was actually Hermīne Lūsis.
When Leedskalnin became ill in November 1951, he put a sign on the door of the front gate “Going to the Hospital” and took the bus to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. Leedskalnin suffered a stroke at one point, either before he left for the hospital or at the hospital. He died twenty-eight days later of Pyelonephritis (a kidney infection) at the age of 64. His death certificate noted that his death was a result of “uremia; failure of kidneys, as a result of the infection and abscess.”
Weird, right? No one knows how such a little man (5′, 100lbs) was able to move and craft an entire living quarters complete with reading chairs all by himself.
The grounds of Coral Castle consist of 1,100 short tons (1,000 t) of stones in the form of walls, carvings, furniture and a castle tower. Commonly referred to as being made up of coral, it is made of oolite, also known as oolitic limestone. Oolite is a sedimentary rock composed of small spherical grains of concentrically layered carbonate that may include localized concentrations of fossil shells and coral. Oolite is found throughout southeastern Florida from Palm Beach County to the Florida Keys. Oolite is often found beneath only several inches of topsoil, such as at the Coral Castle site.
Many of the features and carvings of the castle are notable. Among them are a two-story castle tower that served as Leedskalnin’s living quarters (walls consisting of 8-foot-high pieces of stone); an accuratesundial; 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 crescent moons, a bathtub, beds and a throne.
With few exceptions, the objects are made from single pieces of stone that weigh on average 15 short tons (14 t) each. The largest stone weighs 30 short tons (27 t) and the tallest are two monoliths standing 25 ft (7.6 m) each.
This was definitely one of the stranger places I’ve been. People say that Ed (the creator) took his knowledge to the grave with him, so we will never know how exactly he was able to do it.
Since it is documented that no one ever witnessed Ed’s labor in building his beloved Coral Castle, some have said 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.
Many people saw the coral carvings being moved along the Dixie Highway, but no one actually ever saw Ed loading or unloading the trailer. Ed did much of his work at night by lantern light and to help protect his privacy, he built numerous “lookouts” along the Castle walls.
In 1940, after the carvings were in place, Ed finished erecting the walls. The coral walls weigh 125 pounds per cubic foot. Each section of wall is 8 feet tall, 4 feet wide, 3 feet thick, and weighs more than 58 tons!
When questioned about how he moved the blocks of coral, Ed would only reply that he understood the laws of weight and leverage well. This man with only a fourth grade education even built an AC current generator, the remains of which are on display today. Because there are no records from witnesses his methods continue to baffle engineers and scientists, and Ed’s secrets of construction have often been compared to Stonehenge and the great pyramids.
If you are ever in the area (or close by enough to drive to it) definitely go visit it.
I’ve been searching for new places to investigate and explore since I’m in Florida every single month visiting Ryan. So far I have not been disappointed with the amount of things there are to see, it’s much more than just Disney World down there. If any of my followers on here are from Florida or are locals please don’t be afraid to comment some suggestions for us to look into. Our last exploration was here, to Saint Augustine if you wanna take a look.