This nOde last updated January 13th, 2002 and is permanently morphing...
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Edward Leedskalnin then embarked on a journey that would culminate in one of the world's most remarkable accomplishments. Over a period of twenty years, he sculpted and carved over 1,100 tons of coral rock. and eventually made his way to Canada and then down into California and Texas. He worked in the lumber camps and was involved in at least one cattle drive in Texas. These types of jobs gave Ed a strength which he later used in cutting and moving blocks of coral weighing many tons.
What makes Ed's work remarkable is the fact that he was five feet tall and weighed 100 pounds. At some point during Ed's wanderings he developed a touch of tuberculosis. He was told that South Florida had a good climate; so he came here sometime during the 1918 - 1920 period. For reasons unknown to us, Ed chose to carve a castle of coral in dedication to his "Sweet Sixteen".
This part of Florida is composed of coral, in some places as much as 4,000 feet thick, covered with only a few inches of topsoil. The remarkable feat was in cutting and moving huge coral blocks single-handily using hand tools. People in the area became curious about the coral furniture that Ed was carving. You must understand that during the period that Ed was building the castle - both in Florida City and Homestead, we cannot find any record or any person who saw Ed work.
Ed remained in Florida City until about 1936. At that time, someone planned to build a sub-division near him. Since Ed was a very private person, he decided to move. He came to Homestead and bought 10 acres. Most every carving that you see inside of the Castle was carved in Florida City. How did Ed move all of these carvings a distance of 10 miles? Ed had the chassis of an old Republic truck on which he laid two rails. He had a friend with a tractor who moved the loaded trailer from Florida City to Homestead. Many people saw the coral carvings being moved along the old Dixie Highway, but no one ever saw Ed loading or unloading the trailer. Ed did much of his work at night by lantern light. He seemed to have a sixth sense which told him when some one was trying to spy on him. The numerous lookouts along the Castle walls will attest to his suspicious nature.
The Castle's walls and gates prove his desire for privacy. In 1940, after the carvings were in place, Ed finished erecting the walls. Coral weighs approximately 125 pounds per cubic foot. Each section of wall is 8 feet tall, 4 feet wide, 3 foot thick, and weighs approximately 13,000 pounds. When asked how he was able to move the blocks of coral, Ed would say only that he understood the laws of weight and leverage. This from a man who only had a fourth grade education.
His incredible feats baffled engineers and scientist. They have compared Ed's secret method of construction to Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids. Ed wrote a total of five pamphlets. "A Book In Every Home" contains Ed's thoughts on 3 subjects. "Sweet Sixteen, Domestic and Political Views". He wrote 3 pamphlets on "Magnetic Current". His "Mineral, Vegetable and Animal Life" contains his beliefs on life's cycle.
In December of 1951 Ed became
ill. He put a sign on the door saying "Going to the Hospital". He
took a bus to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. Three days later he died
in his sleep. He was 64. After his death, a nephew living in Michigan,
inherited the Castle. In 1953, shortly before his death, he sold the Castle
to a family from Chicago. During the take-over, a box of Ed's effects were
found and examined. It contained a set of instructions which led to the
discovery of 35 - $100 bills - his life savings. Ed made this money from
giving tours at ten and twenty-five cents. Also from the sale of his pamphlets,
and the sale of the land where the Highway U.S.1 passes the castle.
"I have discovered the secrets
of the pyramids, and have found out how the Egyptians
and the ancient builders in Peru,
Yucatan, and Asia, with only primitive tools, raised and set in place blocks
of stone weighing many tons!" - Ed Leedskalnin, builder of Coral
The Coral Castle is no ordinary structure. It is set on a 10-acre tract of land, the castle proper being surrounded by an eight-foot-high wall made of huge blocks of coral rock, each weighing several tons.
The tower contains 243 tons, the first floor of which Leedskalnin used as a workshop and the second floor housed his living quarters. An air of mystery prevailed about these quarters since no one was permitted entry.
Behind the huge walls of the castle in beautiful settings are fantastic pieces of coral rock furniture and movable objects which he created from his fertile imagination. There are rocking chairs weighing thousands of pounds so delicately balanced they move at the touch of a finger.
Couches, beds, chairs, tables of all sizes and shapes, including one table hewn from solid coral rock into the shape of the state of Florida, and another cut into the shape of a heart with a beautiful ever-blooming floral centerpiece growing out of the center of this rock table.
There are huge crescents atop walls 20 feet high, an obelisk reaching up to the sky weighing 28 tons that Leedskalnin set in place by the use of simple hand tools. There is an ingenious Polaris telescope carved out of the coral rock standing 25 feet in height. As in most castles there is a subterranean well, with a circular staircase carved out of the rock leading down into the water. Leedskalnin's famous nine-ton gate is in the east wall.
Altogether there are approximately 1000 tons of coral rock used in the construction of the walls and tower alone, a stupendous achievement for one man, unequaled in all history. In addition more than 100 tons of coral rock were used in the carvings of the artistic objects throughout the entire castle.
An area known as the "moon
pond," comprised of three 18-ton pieces of coral, represents the first
quarter, last quarter, and the full
moon. Nearby stand Mars (which Ed believed sustained life), and
a ringed Saturn - each the size of an automobile. An obelisk taller then
the great monolith
at Stonehenge, stretches 40' toward the sky, weighing 57,000 pounds. A
series of concentric coral circles is said to represent the solar system.
"Energy sensitive" people, will sometimes report headaches while standing inside the archway of the nine-ton swinging gate, thought to be over a vortex.
Ed believed all matter consisted
of individual magnets, and it is the movement of these magnets within materials,
and through space, that produce measurable phenomena, magnetism and electricity.
Ed would say he had "re-discovered the laws of weight, measurement, and
leverage" and that these concepts "involved the relationship of the Earth
to celestial alignments." He claimed to see beads of light which he believed
to be the physical presence of nature's magnetism and life force,
or what we term today, "chi".
Ed's notebooks are laden with schematics for magnetism, and electrical experiments. Although he possessed only a fourth-grade education, it seems he had discovered a means to reduce the gravitational pull of the earth. He wrote a series of pamphlets which included his theories on magnetism and cosmic force.
Researchers have speculated
that Ed learned the secret of levitation,
and one theory in particular caught the imagination
of many. The planetary grid hypothesis postulates that the earth is covered
by an invisible web of energy, which is concentrated at points of telluric
power, the convergence of which create unusal phenomena.
Recognition of Edward Leedskalnin's
masterpiece has grown steadily over the years. Acknowledged today
as possibly the best example of native or primitive art in the United
States, it is also acclaimed as one of the finest examples of massive stone
construction in America. It is considered by many as one of the true
wonders of the
Coral Castle is open to the
public, and may be contacted at (305) 248-6345, or by writing to Coral
Castle, 28655 South Dixie Hwy., Homestead, FL 33030.