There’s a city in Florida called Homestead, and it’s near Miami and off the South Dixie Highway. Here in this city, you will find the amazing Coral Castle, which was originally named Rock Gate Park. It’s a site designed to excite the senses and to challenge your understanding of engineering. In fact, a site info sheet reads:
You are about to see is an engineering marvel that has been compared with Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Egypt.
Here are some fun facts about the Coral Castle that may tickle your fancy.
1. It was built by a man from Latvia in 1923. His name was Edward Leedskalnin. It took him 28 years to do it alone, and he worked privately so very few people saw him work at it. He also worked only with simple basic tools like ropes and pulleys, picks, and winches.
2. Despite the name, it isn’t really a castle at all. It’s a collection of quarried stone sculptured into many types of shapes. He built some areas to look like a house that has chairs and tables along with slab walls. You also have an accurate sundial, crescent moon chairs, and a water fountain. There are a Polaris telescope and an obelisk. There’s also castle tower that’s 2 stories high.
3. It isn’t even really made of coral either. It’s actually made of oolite limestone, and more than a thousand tons of it was used for the construction.
4. With only a few exceptions, all these objects were made from single pieces of stone. They weighed an average of 15 short tons per stone, with the heaviest at 30 short tons. Two of the tallest monoliths are 25 feet tall.
5. One of the famous features of Coral Castle was a perfectly balanced stone gate that’s 8 feet tall and 9 short tons in weight. It was carved so it fits within 0.25 inches of the wall. It was so well-balanced and swung so easily that even a child could move it with a push of a finger.
The mystery of how this gate was designed lasted for decades until it stopped working in 1986. To remove the gate, 6 men and a 50-short ton crane had to be involved. They discovered that the rock rested on a truck bearing that had finally rusted. They fixed it, and ironically the modern fix only lasted for 9 years when it failed again. It was again repaired, but it no longer swung as easily as it did before.
6. Supposedly, Leedskalnin was spurned by his 16-year old fiancée on what was supposed to be their wedding day. His creation was his way to prove his worth to the girl and to the world.
7. This story of Coral Castle and the young bride-to-be may be the inspiration for the Billie Idol song “Sweet Sixteen”.
8. The marvels of Coral Castle have fascinated generations of visitors, and many have offered wild theories about its creation. Some of these theories have mentioned alien technology and supernatural powers.
Coral Castle and its fantastic features have been accessible for almost a century now. It’s a modern 20th-century marvel far ahead of its time, and it’s a testament to one man’s dedication to engineering excellence and the mystery of how he built it.