on May 8, 2010
We visited the Coral Castle after seeing it alongside the road during a drive down to the Everglades. The massive stonework stands as a memorial to the lost love, Sweet Sixteen, of Ed Ledskalnin.Ed lost his love, who he always referred to as "Sweet Sixteen", when he was still in his native Latvia. He was engaged to her, but she spurned his love and told him that he was too old for her (he was 26 and she was 16). He decided to leave Latvia and wandered the world for a while - eventually making his way to the North American continent - residing in Canada, California and Texas before settling in Florida City, FL. After a while, and for reasons of his own - not disclosed to anyone else - Ed decided to create a monument to his lost love. He used the native coral rock that covers this part of Florida and weighs over 100 lbs/ cubic foot. He had no carving tools, so he created his own from discarded objects that he recycled for his projects. Bicycle parts became pulleys and truck parts became carving tools for the stone that he quarried from his property.Ed was a slight man, only 5 feet tall and 100 lbs. Yet he managed to use his knowledge of leverage and physics to create a sculpture that defies description. He managed to move blocks of coral rock that weighed more than 6 tons each. And there is no record of anyone actually seeing him either sculpt or move these blocks.The Castle is designed to look like a real home - minus the overstuffed sofa and roof among other luxuries. Ed carved a "bedroom" with twin beds, a "bathroom" with a tub, a "kitchen" with a cooker of his own design, a "living room" and "dining room" of carved chairs (some of which rock) and tables, and an "observatory" that actually will pinpoint the North Star.All of this was accomplished in secrecy and with modified objects as tools - a wonder in any day and age. And it was moved from it's original location to the present one in Homestead, FL, without anyone seeing the move occur! His was a man who valued privacy.Although Ed did not mind tourists (he would take you on a tour for 10 cents) he did not always answer the doorbell if he was not in the mood for visitors or if he was busy on a project. This is one sight that needs to be seen to be believed. It is kid and handicapped friendly and something that might spark the creative light in a young mind.
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