|The Coral Castle.....One man's monument to a lost love....By Larry
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Today Diane and I ventured off to Homestead Florida' to visit The Coral Castle, an amazing monument built by one man over a period of 20 years honoring the memory of his intended 16 year old bride, who left him at the altar. The man was Edward Leedskalnin, a slight 100 pound five foot tall Latvian immigrant. He referred to his intended bride as "Sweet Sixteen" who unfortunately stayed in Latvia and never saw the monument that Ed constructed for her. Ed was 10 years her senior and it is believed that she was in love with someone else.
After his rejection, Ed left Latvia and headed for Canada and then California, Texas and eventually wound up in Florida where he felt the weather would be good for his health. Purchasing a 1 acre plot in Florida City for $ 12.00, Ed started carving most of the furniture from the underlying Coral rock that covers most of Florida. He used only hand tools, most made from old car parts and springs and it is unclear how he was able to manage moving the huge blocks that he used.
It was rumored that a subdivision would soon be built next to Ed's project, so being a very private person, he decided to move to Homestead about 10 miles north. He purchased 10 acres of ground there, and began the process of moving all of his carvings to the new site. Several people recall Ed moving the large stones on an old Republic truck, but no one saw him load or unload the monster rocks, as most was done by lantern light at night. Keep in mind that some of these items weighed as much as 46,000 pounds and were moved and placed entirely by hand with no use of power tools. It is somewhat of a mystery of how he was able to accomplish all that he did and I have even heard on late night talk show radio that his secret was he could magnetically levitate the rocks into place...
Ed also studied astronomy as well as electronics and magnetism. His moon rocks, Sundial, Polaris Telescope, Saturn, Mars, and obelisk, collectively weighing many hundreds of tons are most impressive and unbelievable.
Once Ed had moved all of his objects and set them where he wanted, he then began to build a wall around his domain. Each section of wall is 8 feet tall, 4 feet wide, and 3 feet thick weighing about 13,000 lbs. His two story living quarters contain over 200 tons of 4 to 9 ton rocks raised by hand. One of the most amazing objects is a stone gate almost 8 feet square, and 21 inches thick resting on automobile parts which can be turned simply by a gentle shove. Clearing the outer wall by ¼ inch and not being symmetrical, this is quite a feat unto itself.
Ed worked full time on his monument charging the public a dime or quarter to enter and he would take them on a guided tour if he had the time. This was his only known source of income with the exception of the sale of a portion of his ten acres for state highway purposes. Sometime after his death at age 64, his nephew who had inherited the place, found information that led him to a cache of 35-$100 bills, his savings from the countless guided tours he had conducted.
At this point, rather than me continuing on about the wonders of this place and the man named Edward Leedskalnin, I will refer you to the website http://www.coralcastle.com for you to explore yourself.