Photo A Day #199 Coral Castle, Miami Florida

These road trip photos are becoming few and far between, with so much else going on here, but I promise I haven't forgotten and I'm itching to squeeze them in whenever I can. I have to admit, the main reason I wanted to drive all the way down to Miami was to visit Coral Castle. It looked like such a fascinating place, it was on the must-do list for ages! We had a great time, but far out, it was a stinking hot day, and barely a smidge of shade to be had. But we persevered and explored every nook and cranny of Coral Castle.

Coral Castle was built in the 1920's - single-handedly by Latvian immigrant Ed Leedskalnin using huge coral (actually oolite, a kind of limestone) blocks carved out of the ground where it was built. Ed would not let anyone assist him with the building process, nor would he let anyone observe his practices. He was a small man, he stood at around 5ft and weighed under 120lb, which makes his physical achievements even more staggering. He claimed to know the secrets of the pyramids and managed to build this structure alone, with blocks weighing up to 27 tonnes. Local teenagers claimed to see him levitating the blocks like hydrogen balloons, but nobody is really sure how he managed to build it.

I'm pretty sure this isn't life-sized, I'm not quite 8ft tall!
Poor Ed had been jilted by his 'Sweet Sixteen' back in Latvia and built the castle for her, in the hope that she might one day join him and they could raise their children there. He carved furniture from the oolite and had all kinds of astronomical observation points. There was even a 'naughty corner' for his future children, I'm sitting in it in this picture below :) It was almost like a confessional box so he could discipline his (theoretical) children with a stern talking to if they got out of line.

The most famous feature is the huge revolving stone door (to the right of the photo above), which rotates with the slightest push. Or it did, until engineers pulled it apart to see how it worked and couldn't put it back together properly (I'm rolling my eyes right now) It stopped functioning a few years later and they tried to fix it again. It still rotates, but nowhere near as easily as it used to. I thought I should share a photo with people in it too... You must think we only visit ghost towns, but we always take photos of places and try to avoid the people in our shots. I hate having photos of random tourists in my photos, is that weird?

Some of Ed's belongings. He had all kinds of tools and inventions that he built himself
So did Ed use supernatural powers, the secrets of the pyramids, magnetism or perpetual motion to build Coral Castle? To this day nobody knows. After our visit, I think it was sheer determination and a LOT of hard work, but it is still incredible to imagine the motivating force that created such an awesome structure. Honestly, if someone said, 'yeah, he levitated the stone', that would be easier to accept, because the hard physical labour involved in doing this boggles my mind. Poor Ed never had the family he dreamed of, his sweet sixteen did not appear and he died after a short illness in 1951.

Seeing this enormous monolith, accepting the fact that Ed moved this alone, without modern machinery makes me feel bad that I huffed and puffed trying to shift my organ a couple of inches today!
If you want to find out more about Coral Castle, you should watch this "In Search Of" episode hosted by Leonard Nimoy (!) It was the first thing I saw about Coral Castle and I was hooked! Part one is below, you can find parts two and three through the related video links.

I'm not going to lie, we played the "In Search Of" theme song as we drove into the parking lot! Loudly. With us singing along! Baaa-baa ba daaaa!!