I saw a television documentary about Coral Castle, located in
Homestead, between Miami and Key West. Ever since then I wanted to see it.
Coral Castle is often equated with the engineering feats of Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid of Egypt.
The fortress-like complex is constructed of massive coral blocks, many of which exceed five tons. These are imaginatively arranged and fit together to form a central courtyard surrounded entirely by dominating walls.
But Coral Castle was not built by stone-dragging slaves of an ancient civilization. No less incredible than its own stupendous construction is the fact that the entire complex was built between 1920 and 1940 by and for one man working alone and in secret. His name was Edward Leedskalnin. He was born in 1887 into a farming family at Stramereens Pogosta, a small village near Riga, Latvia, but emigrated to North America before the outbreak of World War I.
At five feet tall, weighing 100 pounds, and in uncertain health, Leedskalnin would be an unlikely candidate to quarry and move the tons of coral that even a robust man would have found impossible to budge. And his fourth-grade education hardly qualified him as a construction engineer.
His tools were handmade saws, chisels, chains, hoists, and hammers of the most primitive kind, and his only mode of transportation was an ancient, dilapidated bicycle without tires.
Leedskalnin is quoted as saying, "I have discovered the secrets of the pyramids. I 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." The very stones of Coral Castle support his story -- at an average of six tons, they are twice the weight of the blocks in Egypt's Great Pyramid at Giza.
Castle has attracted the international attention of professional
construction engineers, astounded and mystified by the apparently
impossible achievement of this diminutive wonder-worker. In the
mid-1970s, for example, a large bulldozer was hired to manipulate a
coral block equivalent to the Castle's 30-ton monolith; the bulldozer
could not even lift it.
structure below is a 9-ton swinging door that is so perfectly balanced
that it can be rotated with the pressure from a finger.