Homestead’s Coral Castle was built 100 years ago – but how and why? – NBC 6 South Florida
There is a historic landmark in Homestead that remains a mystery as visitors try to figure out how a man carved over 1,100 tons of coral rock into a castle that still stands today.
Nestled between the Florida Keys and Miami is the stunning Coral Castle, a landmark some call America’s Stonehenge.
“Some people have no idea,” said Coral Castle tour guide Andrea Llano. “I mean they live across the street and they’re like, what’s that thing over there?”
The coral castle has baffled scientists, engineers and scholars since it opened in 1923. How one man – who was only 5 feet tall and weighed only 100 pounds – was able to carve walls of coral weighing 125 pounds per cubic foot ?
The Coral Castle was created by Edward Leedskalnin, who was born in Riga, Latvia on August 10, 1887.
“He was a weird guy, but look what he did,” Llano said. “Everyone was intrigued and admired him from afar.”
According to the story, when Ed was 26, he proposed to his one true love: Agnes Scuffs.
Agnes was ten years younger than Ed, and when the wedding day arrived, she decided to call it off a day before the ceremony.
Heartbroken, Ed decides to come to the United States where he works in the coal mines.
Working in the mines caused Ed to develop a touch of tuberculosis, it was then that he decided to move to a better climate to improve his condition.
Ed moved to Homestead in 1936 and purchased 10 acres of land. He then spent the next three years moving the Coral Castle structures he had already begun building from Florida City to Homestead – a distance of 10 miles.
Coral Castle was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 and is listed under its original name of Rock Gate Park.
“He made two castles. This is the only one left because he brought all the pieces from the first castle to this one, so that alone is impressive,” Llano said.
In 1940, once the sculptures were in place, Ed finished erecting the walls. The coral walls weigh 125 pounds per cubic foot.
Each section of the walls is 8 feet high, 4 feet wide, 3 feet thick and weighs over 5.8 tons.
The real mystery is how exactly Ed moved the coral blocks. Whenever asked, he said he had a good understanding of the laws of weight and leverage.
His methods continue to baffle engineers and scientists, and Ed’s building secrets have often been compared to Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids.
“It’s just amazing what anyone can do when they think about it,” said first-timer Penny Lester. “It’s really amazing to see this part of Florida and the way the coral is growing out of the ground.”
The castle is open to the public from Thursday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and offers guided tours.
Admission is $18 for adults and $8 for children ages 7-12.
This makes Llano happy to give tours and tell visitors about Ed’s life and the magic he left in his castle.
“I think he would be proud to see his legacy carried on through time and to see that he is remembered in history,” she said.