Coral Castle: Romantic Gesture or Deranged Obsession?

posted in: Florida, North America, United States | 22

Coral Castle is by far the most unique attraction the state of Florida has to offer. The one-of-a-kind wonder was constructed in the name of romance, but is shrouded with mystery and secrets. Built in the dead of the night so not a single soul could witness its development, the monument still confounds its visitors to this day.

Coral Castle in Florida

Some claim they know how the engineering and technical accomplishments of the masterpiece were achieved while others allege magnetic energy and supernatural powers were at work. Regardless of the assembly, the question surrounding the passion showpiece is whether or not Coral Castle was created by a romantic genius or an infatuated recluse.

Coral Castle in Florida

The Man Behind Coral Castle

The ill-fated story begins in Riga, Latvia where Edward Leedskalnin was abandoned by his blushing bride, Agnes, one day before the wedding ceremony. She was ten years his junior and he affectionately called her his “Sweet Sixteen.” Heartbroken, he fled to the states and began a 28 year quest to erect a testament of his love and devotion.

Leedskalnin was quite the small statured man, 5 feet tall and 100 pounds, yet he somehow found a way to lift and transport colossal-sized blocks of stone to be carved into a token of his love. It is said that he was eccentric and a highly private man, but he did allow visitors while he was still alive and building. Although he invited Agnes to come and see the monument he built for her, she refused and never saw Ed’s labor of love.

Word spread and curious visitors from around the world have come to scrutinize the unique site. After hearing about the monument, Billy Idol was inspired to write “Sweet Sixteen” as a tribute to Coral Castle and its creator.

Coral Castle in Florida

The Castle in Perspective

More than 1,100 tons (2,200,000 pounds) of coquina rock was used to build Coral Castle. Let’s put that in perspective. That weight is equivalent to 550 average sized cars, 183 African elephants, 55 whale sharks or two of the heaviest Boeing 747’s. One love struck man lifted, moved and carved this substantial amount of coral. Leedskalnin made claims he knew the logistics behind Atlantis and how the pyramids were built but went to the grave with his secrets.

Coral Castle in Florida

The Furniture

The castle site is enclosed with 8′ high rock walls. The rock walls themselves are impressive as Leedskalnin used NO mortar or cement to bind them together. In 1992, the walls withstood the fury of Category 5 Hurricane Andrew without shifting an inch.

Coral Castle in Florida

One of the astounding highlights of Coral Castle is a 9-ton (18,000 pound) door perfectly balanced with no modern tools. Back in the day, the door reportedly could be opened by a child’s push of a finger. Now that’s impressive. It also has multiple 3-ton rocking chairs, an accurate sundial, a 22-ton obelisk, a barbecue, a water well, and a subterranean refrigerator.

Coral Castle in Florida

Coral Castle in Florida

The rock table and chair set is sculpted as the state of Florida with Lake Okeechobee as its water basin. The lake is Florida’s largest and it provides much of the drinking water in the southern part of the state.

Coral Castle in Florida

Ripley’s Believe It or Not dubbed the 5,000-pound heart-shaped rock table the world’s largest valentine.

Coral Castle in Florida

So where did Ed live? The two-story castle tower was his workshop and living quarters. The first floor held his tools and the second floor is where his simple bed and chair still hangs.

Coral Castle in Florida

Was the creation of Coral Castle chivalry at its best or an outrageous plea for love and attention? You be the judge.

Coral Castle Museum

28655 South Dixie Highway

Miami, FL 33033

(305) 248-6345

Opens daily at 8 am

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Coral Castle in Florida

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Angela E. is a travel writer from the Chicagoland area who has visited all 50 states in the US and has traveled extensively around the world. She is passionate about exploring the great outdoors and hiking in particular. Her love for nature has taken her to some of the most beautiful locations on the planet. She has written extensively about her travels on her own website, Dang Travelers, and has been published in collaboration with other travel websites and multiple visitor bureaus around the country.

22 Responses

  1. Chris Travels

    Hmmm, this crazy coral monstrosity has me stumped, no matter how many facts about it are known. “Deranged” would definately be my word of choice for describing its engineer and builder. Briiliant as Ed may have been, there are too many other negative adjectives that might also have described him. I can see why Agnes chose a different direction for her life…run baby run!

    • Dang Travelers

      Run baby run might be right Chris! His masterpiece was a highlight of our Florida trip, but I think he was a bit crazy myself.

    • Dang Travelers

      Really? Glad to be the one to inform you! 🙂 We didn’t know either (been to Florida a bunch of times) until researching the Miami area.

    • Dang Travelers

      Thanks Rachel. It is an interesting and unique stop. Not sure what was going through that man’s mind when he was building his “castle.”

  2. Carol Colborn

    A testament to love is always a great expression for any one. Since this one is from an unrequited love, it does not look so majestic and elegant as the Taj Mahal. Nevertheless, I can feel the love that was oozing. I would not call it deranged.

    • Dang Travelers

      That’s where the expression crazy in love comes from, right? We all get a little nutty when we fall for someone. I wonder if he thought it would bring her back to him or if he just wanted to express his feelings.

  3. Jocelyn

    The furniture doesn’t look too comfy, lol.

    Florida sounds like the perfect place for something strange like this…it is full of oddities!

    • Dang Travelers

      You got that right Jocelyn! We love Florida and its quirkiness it has going on.

  4. Claudia

    Woooww!! I didn’t know nothing about it!! This year we’ll be in US for tue first time (NYC and California), hope for Florida for tre next time 😍😍

    • Dang Travelers

      First trip to the US? That’ll be fun! Cali and NY are great states to start out. Florida has beautiful beaches and interesting attractions.

  5. Aileen Adalid

    Now this is quite interesting. I’ve actually never heard of this; but for sure, I’ll be keeping note of it. It’s quite an odd but fascinating thing in itself!

  6. Cameron

    I love quirky destinations like this. They always have so much character and can be much more entertaining then the big destinations and tourists attractions. Looks like a great afternoon.

    • Dang Travelers

      We feel the same way, we love quirky stops and destinations. Coral Castle was right up there for odd and interesting!

    • Dang Travelers

      Haven’t been to Vietnam yet, but we’ll have to remember that when we go.

  7. Heather Simon Carlson

    I had no idea this place even existed, now I am curious. I think I will check it out next time I’m in Miami

    • Dang Travelers

      We didn’t know about it either until we were looking up things to do on our month long road trip through Florida. It is probably one of the strangest stops we’ve made!

  8. Charles McCool

    Wow, I visited Coral Castle on a field trip when I was in elementary school in South Florida. I will not tell you how long ago that was! I should return as an adult to see what I think.

    • Dang Travelers

      Hahaha. You should go back. It’s always a different experience visiting a place as an adult versus a child. I grew up in the Chicago area and I always took our museums for granted because we would go there on field trips as kids. It wasn’t till I was an adult that I realized how lucky we were to grow up with such fantastic places so close!

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