Coral Castle is an engineering marvel found in Florida, and it’s a very famous tourist spot. Its features and workings have fascinated generations of scientists, and it’s been the subject of book, films, and countless articles. But how much do you know of its mysterious creator? His name was Edward “Ed” Leedskalnin, and he was a man as improbable as the spectacle he made.
Here are 10 facts about the mysterious engineer of Coral Castle, Ed Leedskalnin:
1. He started working on Coral Castle in 1923. He first built a castle in that year in Florida City, and he named this castle as “Ed’s Place”. Florida City is an extremely remote location, and at the time there was very little development there. He then moved the various parts of this castle to its current location.
2. He worked on Coral Castle until he died in 1951. That’s 28 years of dedication to the place.
3. You’d think that with a thousand tons of stone involved in the construction, Ed Leedskalnin would be a huge man too. But in fact, he was small in physical stature. He was only 5 feet flat tall, and he only weighed 100 pounds.
4. Whenever he was asked as to why he built the castle, Ed said that it was for his “Sweet Sixteen”. It’s widely believed to refer to Agnes Skuvst, who was supposedly his would-be bride who abandoned him on his wedding day.
5. As legend has it, Ed built the castle to demonstrate his worth, even though he was poor and only completed a formal education up to 4th grade.
6. He was a man of firm convictions, and he believed that the right to vote should only be reserved for people who were employed. He said that it wasn’t right that those “too weak” to make a living were allowed to vote.
7. Ed was reclusive and he had friends. Still, he worked alone on what would be later known as Coral Castle. He only used simple tools too.
8. He was able to lift stones that weighed as much as 30 short tons, without modern cranes. His methods were very secretive, which was understandable since he wanted to keep his castle unique.
9. In many ways, his methods were superior to modern technology. His amazing gate hat weighed 9 tons is a great example of his genius. Despite its weight, a child or even a stiff breeze could swing the gate easily. It was only in 1986, when it finally failed, did the engineers finally realize the secret. A truck bearing was used for the gate, and it had rusted.
So the gate swung easily from 1923 to 1986, and that’s 43 years of perfect performance. When it was fixed in 1986 with modern machinery and 6 men, it only lasted 9 years before it failed again. Once more it was fixed, but the gate doesn’t swing as easily as Ed built it many decades before.
10. When he first opened his castle to public viewing, Ed often greeted visitors personally. He asked for 10¢ (later 25¢) as a donation from visitors, but those who didn’t have the money could visit for free.
Many have suspected that Coral’s Castle was made with alien technology and supernatural powers. But its creation was entirely the product of one man’s drive and determination. This was Ed Leedskalnin—a true genius and a man of mystery.