Skip to Content

Click on a label to read posts from that part of the world.

Map of the world

Coral Castle: Testament To A Broken Heart


Almost a hundred years ago in southern Florida, a heartbroken man accomplished something incredible.

Edward Leedskalnin was an immigrant from Latvia. He moved to Florida in 1918 hoping to cure his tuberculosis. But it wasn't only his lungs that were sick; his heart was sick too. When he was 26 back in Latvia, so the story goes, he had been engaged to Agnes Scuffs, ten years his junior. His "Sweet Sixteen" jilted him the day before the wedding and poor Ed never recovered. He immigrated first to Canada, then the United States, working various jobs before making it to Florida. He never got over his lost love and never married.

That heartbreak led to an obsession.

Over the course of 28 years, he excavated more than 1,000 tons of bedrock and constructed a weird fantasyland of towers, sculptures and furniture out of massive stone blocks. The result was Coral Castle. Hints of his lost love can been found all over, such as the heart-shaped table and the stone cradle that's so well balanced it can rock. There are stranger objects too, like an elaborate sundial and a tube through which you can see the North Star.

Leedskalnin usually worked at night and didn't let people watch him. This created an air of mystery around it and led to claims that he used magical forces to build the castle. After all, people asked, how could a 5-foot-tall tubercular man move such massive stones? Actually Leedskalnin came from a family of stone masons and used this knowledge to make his amazing creations. A few photographs show him using devices such as a block and tackle to move the stones.

Coral Castle isn't a castle and it isn't made of coral. In fact it's made of oolitic limestone, but that doesn't sound nearly as romantic. Not that it matters, the whole place is romantic. While the object of Leedskalnin's love never came to Coral Castle despite many invitations, countless other people have visited and been inspired. Billy Idol wrote his song "Sweet Sixteen" about the story and exploitation director Doris Wishman filmed her bizarre "Nude on the Moon" there. Hit the link to see the trailer for this 1961 nudie cutie, but be warned it's not work safe.

Coral Castle is in Homestead, Florida, and is open every day of the week. Check out the gallery to see some of the amazing monuments Leedskalnin made to his lost love. Also check out our article on Mystery Hill, an equally strange place in New Hampshire.

Filed under: Arts and Culture, North America, United States

Find Your Hotel

City name or airport
POWERED BY
City name or airport
City name or airport
POWERED BY
City name or airport
City name or airport
POWERED BY
City name or airport code
If different
POWERED BY
POWERED BY

Search Travel Deals

Add your comments

Please keep your comments relevant to this blog entry. Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments.

When you enter your name and email address, you'll be sent a link to confirm your comment, and a password. To leave another comment, just use that password.

To create a live link, simply type the URL (including http://) or email address and we will make it a live link for you. You can put up to 3 URLs in your comments. Line breaks and paragraphs are automatically converted — no need to use <p> or <br /> tags.

Gadling Features


Most Popular

Categories

Become our Fan on Facebook!

Featured Galleries (view all)

Berlin's Abandoned Tempelhof Airport
The Junk Cars of Cleveland, New Mexico
United Airlines 787 Inaugural Flight
Ghosts of War: France
New Mexico's International Symposium Of Electronic Arts
Valley of Roses, Morocco
The Southern Road
United Dreamliner Interior
United Dreamliner Exterior

Our Writers

Don George

Features Editor

RSS Feed

View more Writers

Weird News

DailyFinance

FOXNews Travel

Engadget

Sherman's Travel

Lonely Planet

New York Times Travel

Joystiq