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He spent his life building a miniature castle for his ‘Sweet Sixteen’

Ian Harvey

The story of an immigrant to the US who built a castle in Florida, during the confused times of cold war has long been speculated upon and often misunderstood.

The man in question Edward Leedskalnin was living a happy teenage life in Latvia with her sweet heart and fiancée Agnes Skvst, both were sixteen at the time.

But when Leedskalnin’s heart was brutally shattered by his girlfriend who had abandoned him just one day before the wedding he became disheartened about life and left for America.

After reaching the US Leeedskalnin’s ordeals did not end as he developed a severe case of tuberculosis but then miraculously came out of the grips of TB. He attributed his spontaneous recovery to the magnetic waves, an idea that he long held and propounded throughout his life.

The Thirty Ton Stone Photo Credit
The Thirty Ton Stone Photo Credit

Edward had dedicated more than three decades of his life to the building of his beloved Coral Castle and did not allow anyone to see the castle during the construction. He did not even reveal the methods he used to build the castle, and the secrets went to his grave with him.

However, a few teenagers who once lived in the same neighborhood as Edward had claimed that they had seen Edward at work and reported that he could move the Coral blocks like helium balloons, swiftly and effortlessly.

The only machine Edward ever spoke about that he supposedly used during his building of the castle was something that he called a Perpetual motion holder.

The first name of the castle had a more teenage vibe to it; Edward first named his castle as Ed’s Place after he finished building it in 1923 when he was living in Florida City.

Edward had previously purchased a piece of land from Ruben Moser for his castle, Moser’s wife had assisted Edward greatly during a really vicious bout with tuberculosis.


A view from within Leedskalnin's Coral Castle Photo Credit
A view from within Leedskalnin’s Coral Castle Photo Credit

Florida city hosted the castle until about 1936, after that Leedskalnin had to transfer its beloved Castle to a new and what was going to be the final location for the castle at 28655 South Dixie Highway Miami, Florida FL 33033.

Leedskalnin had to make the decision to move in the wake of the rumors that developers were buying land for construction, this threatened something that Leedskalnin held very dear to himself i.e. his privacy.

It took him three years to fully transfer his castle piece by piece to its new location where he renamed the castle as the ‘Rock Gate’, due to a huge swinging gate at the rear that he built on the back wall of the castle.

Coral Castle in Homestead, Florida Photo Credit
Coral Castle in Homestead, Florida Photo Credit

While in Florida city Leedskalnin would charge the visitors a mere ten pence per head to tour his castle ground, but after moving to the new location, he raised the fee, but also allowed those with no money to view it without any charge.

Despite moving castle to a new location, Leedskalnin continued to work on the castle and kept refining his piece of art, until his death in 1951.

On several occasions, Leedskalnin was asked the question about why he spent all his life building a castle to which he would always reply with a wide smile accompanied by the phrase ‘for my Sweet Sixteen’.

It was believed that he made reference to his fiancée that left him in Latvia, but in his own book A Book in Every Home, Leedskalnin implied that ‘Sweet Sixteen’ was more of an ideal person of his imagination and was not related to any real person.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News