Visiting Coral Castle With a Dog in Homestead, Florida – USA

We love a mystery. We are fans of things that can’t quite be explained. That is how I know that one day I shall see Stonehenge, for example, or the great pyramids of Egypt. With luck, both!

I recently got see one such place. It was much closer to home and it is, much to my delight, very pet friendly.  It has been featured in hundreds of newspapers and magazines from Life (magazine) to Readers Digest.  This place has also been on TV, featured on shows such as “Ripley’s Believe it or Not,” “In Search Of,” and “That’s Incredible.”

Visiting Coral Castle With a Dog in Homestead, Florida - USA

Yes, yes you will!

You’re curious now aren’t you? Where is this place? Astoundingly, it is just outside of Miami, Florida.  On Dixie Highway, in the town of Homestead.

The place is Coral Castle.

The only way to describe Coral Castle in a few words would be to call it an engineering marvel.  You see, the castle was built by a 5 foot tall, 100 pound Latvian immigrant named Ed Leedskalnin.  Some say he built the castle for his one true love, his sweet sixteen, the “one that got away,” left behind in Latvia. We don’t believe that story and, in fact, there is little to no evidence that this was the case. But people are attracted to love stories so perhaps that’s why the tale lives on.

We are inclined to believe that Ed was a Freemason and that the castle is his monument to “The Supreme Being and the Volume of Sacred Law.”  Our guide was also of this opinion.  It’s not hard to reach this conclusion for as you walk through Coral Castle, you’ll see the Mason symbols.  There is also a sense of possible ritual and acknowledgement of the Freemason responsibilities. I will not go into detail as to who Freemasons are; you can do your own research. Actually, here’s a quick 101. I think it might be good if you read this before we go on. It’s okay, take your time. I will wait.

Done? Fascinating, isn’t it?

Now what makes this place a mystery is that this tiny Latvian did all of the construction on his own. Without any help, using only simple tools that he often made himself, Ed excavated, carved and moved tons of coral rock. It’s hard to believe considering the walls around the castle are built of huge stones with the largest weighing 29 tons. Spaces between the large stones were filled with small fist sized stones placed so perfectly that no light shows through. How did Ed do this? No one really knows.

The first hint that Coral Castle has little to do with a love story is where we first joined the tour guide and his group. (You can join the tour at any time. The tours are ongoing and in a loop, so no matter when you jump in, you can still get the full tour.)  Here is a bird’s eye view of Coral Castel. My paw is where our tour started at the Polaris Telescope.

Visiting Coral Castle With a Dog in Homestead, Florida - USA

Our Map!

The wall near the Telescope contains over 150 tons of rock and includes a column with a hole at the top in the shape of a small cross. That small cross aligns with another hole in a lower wall that focuses perfectly on the North Star. Really. Amazing, isn’t it?!

Visiting Coral Castle With a Dog in Homestead, Florida - USA

The Polaris Telescope

Visiting Coral Castle With a Dog in Homestead, Florida - USA

Focus on the North Star

But that isn’t all.

The Sundial records the hours a “man should work” – that is, according to Ed, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Using the sundial, it is possible to determine Standard time within one or two minutes all year round. It is that accurate. Pretty amazing, again!

Visiting Coral Castle With a Dog in Homestead, Florida - USA

Perfect Sundial

The most photographed part of Coral Castel is the Crescent Moon and Planets. In the corner of the eastern-most wall, Ed constructed a 20 foot tall Crescent Moon that weighs over 23 tons. In the same corner is Mars, and next to it, the planet Saturn. At the feet of these planets is the “Throne Room.” It is said that Ed believed every man’s house was his castle and that every castle should have a throne. I suppose this is true; after all, even in our home, we have “Dad’s chair.” Of course, Mom has hers too. Anyway, Ed’s throne is 5000 pounds of solid coral rock. (That’s a little bigger and heavier than our condo could bear.) There are three thrones in all: one for Ed, another for his possible “lost love,” and the third for the child they never had.  But here’s the best part: there is a fourth chair … for the mother-in-law. It’s placed behind Ed’s throne and made as uncomfortable as possible to ensure any mother-in-law would not overstay her welcome. I think it’s a good thing Ed never married!

Visiting Coral Castle With a Dog in Homestead, Florida - USA

The Throne Room

 

Visiting Coral Castle With a Dog in Homestead, Florida - USA

Da King!

The prettiest construct of Coral Castle is, by far, the Moon Fountain.  The Fountain shows a first quarter, last quarter and full moon, each in its own piece of coral. I believe that it’s the Bougainvillea planted next to the fountain, when in full bloom, that makes this spot so lovely. It’s also the only seat in the castle that was really comfortable.

Visiting Coral Castle With a Dog in Homestead, Florida - USA

Ooooooh Pretty Moon Fountain!

The Great Obelisk – another construct in the castle – is yet another a mystery. How did Ed move this 28 ton stone on his own? It’s bigger than the great upright at Stonehenge! At the top of the obelisk is the carved Latvian star. It looms over the bedroom, where beds await for Ed, his prospective wife and children. There is even a rocking cradle and child’s rocker, and the kids’ beds are all on a higher level, out of harm’s way. To the left is a small bathtub, complete with shaving mirror.  To the right, a repentance corner. Funny how the repentance corner is right next to where the children’s beds are located!

Visiting Coral Castle With a Dog in Homestead, Florida - USA

Bedroom and Obelisk

The kitchen is basically a barbecue. Although unheard of in the 1930’s, a barbecue is basically what Ed constructed. The fire is built in the pit where a pipe embedded below served as a down shaft. The cooking pot is the rear end housing of Ed’s broken down Ford.  He hung the “car pot” on a pulley.  He could place the food in the pot, close and seal it off, and push it out over the fire. Basically, the system acts as a pressure cooker. Another genius moment for Ed.  Apparently, Ed used to cook hot dogs in it for visiting kids.

Visiting Coral Castle With a Dog in Homestead, Florida - USA

What do you mean “Hot Dog”?

There were many other fun things to see:

  • the Florida State table, designed to accommodate the Governor and all Senators in one sitting;
  • the Heart Table, a 5,000 pound table in the perfect shape of a heart, designed for a “feast of love”;
  • the children’s playground, complete with porridge bowl, based on the story of Goldilocks – a story that Ed told visiting children.

But nothing is more amazing than the Nine Ton gate.

The Nine Ton gate is the crowning jewel mystery of Coral Castle. The gate proves Ed’s engineering genius without any doubt: although the stone is incredibly heavy, a child can turn it and close it! The gate also sits in its frame within a quarter of an inch of its surrounding wall. (Oh, that modern homes were built with such precision!) The gate has been probed, measured and even x-rayed by many engineers and scientists but to date, no one has been able to explain how Ed did it. Sadly, the gate no longer sits so precisely in its frame. Coral stone is porous and so, with time, the stone has degraded and shifted so the gate no longer fits so true. But our guide did turn the stone. It can still be done; it just requires a little more strength today than it did in the 1920’s.

Visiting Coral Castle With a Dog in Homestead, Florida - USA

Nine Tone Gate as seen from Outside the Walls

After living for a long time in a shed next to the castle, Ed decided to build himself a little tower. The tower overlooks the castle entrance where Ed could see who had rung the bell to visit (for 25 cents).  He had his tool room on the ground floor of the tower. You can still see Ed’s handmade tools, including an electrical generator Ed made from old car parts. On the second floor of the tower is a rather uncomfortable looking, but cleverly designed space. Everything on this floor is hanging from pulleys, allowing the bed, chair and even table to be raised off the ground, up into the rafters, to make room. This is where Ed must have written.  He wrote five pamphlets in all.  Most interesting are the ones on Magnetic Current, Mineral, Vegetable and Animal Life and his pamphlet on love, Domestic Life and Politics. The latter shows that Ed was, well, a chauvinist. This made us understand why he likely never married. You can buy copies of his work at the gift shop.

Visiting Coral Castle With a Dog in Homestead, Florida - USA

Shabby Chic?

Ed died alone in a Hospital in Miami after hanging up a sign on the Coral Castle door stating simply, “Going to the Hospital.” Three days after he left the castle, Ed died in his sleep of cancer of the stomach.

Ed might have been a chauvinist, but he certainly loved children. He was a remarkable man. A determined man. An interesting and mysterious man. The world is always a better place when those who are “different” dare to be themselves and build their dreams.

If ever you are in the area, go!

So what do you think? Monument to a lost love or Freemason Masonic Lodge?

14 Comments on “Visiting Coral Castle With a Dog in Homestead, Florida – USA

  1. WOW!!!!! What an awesome place to see!! Amazing he did it all by himself!! I would like to see it some day. Great pics as usual!!! Love to all!

  2. It’s an amazing place with a mysterious background. I wonder if it was ever mentioned in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not? I’d love to see the tools used to construct this amazing compound. Great photos – my favorite is the one of the throne. Everyone should have a throne, don’t you think? Again, thanks for sharing and taking us along on another Montecristo adventure.

    • Ahahahaa… Brad re-read the intro. yes it was featured on Ripley’s. I wish I had taken more photo’s of the workshop. They also had some black and white photos of some of the pulley systems. I will keep that in mind when reporting in the future.

      As for thrones – yep! Dad has his at home “his chair” and Mom as well… I am rather fond of laps rather than thrones! 🙂

  3. Great place to visit, Monte. Photoes are great, but when I visit someones homes I feel uneasy, weell, I havent asked permission of an owner, have I? But I visited Kipling house in Britain because he is my faivourite writer from my childhood, and Chekov summer house which I hope to visit again togehter with you, Monte. The Coral Castle owner is not an easy person, as for me, but a genious, I would feel his presence, if I would be there, and would not be very comfortable there, I think. Did You feel anything of the kind, like hidden danger, scary-scary, LOL, 🙂

    • I did not get a bad feeling because the man that built this had it open to the public while he was alive. he built it not as a home but as an attraction. His home was just the tiny tower. There … I felt not something scary but … rather loneliness. The place has a feeling of mystery that is for sure.

      • Exactly, I felt it by photoes, mystery. But I would hang around, if I had a chance, 🙂

    • Maybe from now on we should ask one another if they have been where we are going! Hopefully you will go again – this is WELL worth the stop!

  4. I was thinking, we marvel at Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids and because we can’t explain how these mammoth structures were built, theories abound, often involving aid from extraterrestrials or such. Equally, a great deal of the construction of Coral Castle can’t be explained, but perhaps because it was constructed more recently, there are no theories about the involvement of extraterrestrials or anything else fanciful.

    • Possibly! I do not know. They did have a theory that he might have mastered the art of levitation. Other than that there was no real “super natural” or “super hero” like theories. I believe as well that it’s human scale may have something to do with it. I am not sure. Certainly the pyramids benefit from that massive and imposing presence. Stonehenge it is the age as you pointed out that has everyone wondering. I do not know Dawn … it is a good question.

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  7. For ten years I have studied this mystery. I have seen dozens of clues to the mystery throughout the castle. For the longest time I was convinced Ed moved those rocks with nothing more than a block and chain hoists. Then I read his books dozens of times…and I saw it. I had an emotional ephiphony. There it was in plain text and in picture. He had carved it into the castle structures and described it in his books and in new paper articles throughout the 40’s and 50’s. It was an EVENT. And he tells you when and where it occurs. You see through our lives, we are taught lies by schooling, churches, and our parents. It is very difficult to deprogram ones mind of the things we are taught. Cognitive dissonance seeps in when someone tells you otherwise. Ed has shared the answer to Stonehenge, the Great Pyramids, Baalbek, Lebanon, and many more Ancient sites! Nothing is given, everything must be earned!

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