Sunday, June 2, 2024

Coral Castle: A Colossal Mystery Inspired by Romance

Blogger: Amber Lemus


Today I am sharing about one of the strangest places I've ever visited. When I first went, I thought it a tragic and romantic tale. But revisiting the story almost ten years later, I feel it might be a little on the creepy side too. Let me know what you think.

Several years back, my family and I took a vacation to Florida. While we were there, we visited a very interesting, but often unheard-of attraction. They call it Coral Castle.

Before I go into the interesting and mysterious parts of the castle itself, there's a story you must know.

Ed Leedskalnin

Romance & Heartbreak

Ed Leedskalnin was born in 1887 in Latvia, a small country in Northern Europe, right next to Russia and Lithuania. He was a stone mason, like his father before him. When he was 26 years old, he met and fell madly in love with a sixteen-year-old girl named Agnes Scuffs. He convinced her to marry him, and a date was set.

Today, a twenty-six-year-old marrying a sixteen-year-old would probably be considered pedophilia, however in those days, girls marrying at such a young age was pretty common. Still, it does feel a little weird.

Just one day before the wedding, Ed's "Sweet Sixteen" called off the wedding. She would never marry him, she said. Ed was crushed. So deep was his grief, that he left his native country of Latvia and journeyed to the United States where he settled near Miami, Florida. Here, he began to build one of the modern world's greatest mysteries, a tribute to his lost love.

Eccentric, NOT crazy. 

Ed was a small man, about five foot tall, and weighing in at less than 100 lbs. His small size didn't keep him from doing big things. He settled in a place where there was a ton (pun intended) of fossilized coral. He excavated this stone by himself and used it to carve out blocks and build his castle. 

He built his first castle around 1923, but later moved to another location that was closer to the population base around 1939.

 Ed was a very interesting fellow, though somewhat strange. But he attested that he was not crazy. Eccentric, yes, but not crazy. At the entrance to the castle, he has a sign that says "You will be seeing an unusual accomplishment." He had a bell, with a sign that instructed the visitor to ring twice if they wanted a tour. If they failed to follow the instructions, he would either ignore them, or yell over the wall: "Go away. You can't follow directions and you might break something."

A Wonder of the Modern World

A map of the Coral Castle sculptures - Click to enlarge

From his background as a stone mason, Ed had great knowledge of stone, leveraging heavy objects and masonry, but that still doesn't account for the amazing sights at Coral Castle. The entire castle is made up of the Coral Stone and scraps that he picked up from junkyards. To start, he created a wall around the castle. Then he erected a tower in one corner for his living quarters and tools, and the rest of the courtyard was somewhat of a playground for him. He built tables, chairs, a sundial, a self-heating bath, rock telescopes, models of the planets, an obelisk and much more.

The Nine-Ton Gate

Ed had two gates to his castle, both made of large stones that were so perfectly balanced that you could push the stones like a revolving door with only one finger. One gate was three tons, the other made of a nine-ton stone. We're talking TONS here.

The entire castle was built with his "Sweet Sixteen" in mind. He always made things in sets of three. One for him, one for Agnes, and one for the child that they would have. Ed dreamed that one day, Agnes would come across the ocean, agree to finally marry him, and they would live happily ever after in his Coral Castle.

Below, we see the Feast of Love table. "We men are forgetful." Ed said, "I may forget to buy her a Valentine, so I built her one out of stone so that she will always have a valentine from me." The flowers at the center were her favorite kind, until they recently died and were replaced. "I am too poor to buy her flowers all the time, so I planted them here so that she will have flowers every day."

I mean, that's pretty sweet...if the object of his affections wasn't a sixteen-year-old who had rejected him and moved on with her life already. 

The Feast of Love Table

Here's something interesting, if your sweetheart proposes to you in front of this table of love, and you accept, they will let you have your wedding at the castle. According to their website, they occasionally do renewal of the vows at the castle for couples.

You might be wondering, did Anges ever know that poor Ed had come out here and built a castle for her with his own hands? The answer, sadly, is yes. Someone once asked her if she knew about the castle, and if she knew that he'd built it all for her. She replied, "Yes, but I didn't want to marry him then. And I don't want to marry him now." 

Ed's Obelisk

To the right is a picture of the obelisk that Ed built. Guess how much it weighs. twenty-eight tons. The heaviest stone in the castle is thirty tons. TONS, people! I was amazed.

How on earth did one man -one very small man- carve and move those rocks by himself? That remains a mystery. He worked only at night, or when people could not see him. If people would show up, he would stop working. "When you leave, I can get back to work." He would say. 

There are many theories about how he built this fantastic castle. Some say Aliens came and told him how to build it, helping him with their anti-gravitation devices. Others say that it was just sheer leverage. I personally find that difficult to believe.

Ed studied a lot about magnets and the magnetic force and had even managed to create a magnetic generator. Some believe that he somehow used his knowledge of magnets to levitate the stones. This seems more probable to me.

Above is the only picture of Ed building the castle. See that little guy down there at the bottom? Ya, that's Ed.

The Tragic End

So how does Ed's story end? His castle became quite an attraction, and folks would pay him for tours. He lived very simply in an upstairs part of the corner tower. He did this until he fell ill in December of 1951. He left a sign on the castle door that said, "going to hospital." He died three days later at the age of 64. 

Ed never married.

Still today, Ed's legacy lives on. The Coral Castle became a National Historic Place in 1984. It is a very impressive, possibly romantic, yet mysterious tribute to his lost love. Kinda reminds me of the Taj Mahal, although that story was a little happier.

So what do you think? Is Ed's tribute to Agnes romantic or creepy? Let me know in the comments below this post. 

(If you're reading this by email, you'll need to visit the blog page to leave a comment.)


Two-time winner of the Christian Indie Award for historical fiction, Amber Lemus inspires hearts through enthralling tales She has a passion for travel, history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call "historical fiction at its finest".  

She lives near the Ozarks in her "casita" with her prince charming. Between enjoying life as a boy mom, and spinning stories out of soap bubbles, Amber loves to connect with readers and hang out on Goodreads with other bookish peoples.

Amber is a proud member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association. Visit her online at and download a FREE story by subscribing to her Newsletter!


  1. Mostly sad. A man with so much talent couldn't move on. And I wonder what the reason was that the young lady would not marry him? An interesting what if for a story.

    1. Yes, I agree. One can't help but wonder what he may have been able to accomplish if he had been able to move on. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Back in the day, children were raised to be adults as soon as possible, not the perpetual children being raised today. Throughout history a good parent often preferred their daughter to marry a man older than her, someone more stable, usually with a solid job and some experience of life. A man who could reasonably be able to defend his home. This was the state of the world then and it is a mistake to project our "higher" ideals on the world that those before us broke their backs building up for us. Consider that until the past one hundred years the age of consent in this county averaged out at 13 (!), a girl of 16 expected to be married by the time she was 18 and to be bearing children and managing a home at that point. No, I don't think Ed was creepy. I do think any man born in that era would run in terror from any 16 year old girl I know today, because not one of those girls (not young women) is emotionally mature enough to keep a chia pet alive, let alone his children. The world we live in today is creepy and there are plenty of pedophiles ready to take advantage of the fact that we endeavor to keep our children tied down to us, dependent, unable to make good decisions, defend their ideas, or to even make up their own minds about the glaringly obvious. God help us.

    1. Hi Thea, thanks for your comment.
      Indeed, things were very different, historically when it came to ages and marriage. My grandmother got married at 14!

  3. The guy was certifiably crazy. I remember sitting on those coral benches, and they were so hard. I can't imagine what the bed would have felt like. Agnes did the right thing in staying in Latvia.

    1. That crossed my mind also! I know Jacob in the Bible used a stone as a pillow, but I prefer my feathered ones. Lol.

  4. Thank you for posting today. This is truly a strange story. I would consider it obsessed.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Connie. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Obsessed is a good word for it.