Mystery surrounds this small attraction just off US1 between Miami and Homestead. Latvian immigrant Ed Leedskalnin is said to have carved and assembled the tons of coral rock forming the walls, tower, and interior pieces of the castle and garden singlehandedly, using only primitive hand tools. He went to great lengths to ensure that no one observed him working, and most often worked at night, with only lanterns to provide light. Leedskalnin began his creation around 1920 in Florida City, but seeking more privacy, in 1936 he moved north to Homestead, and spent the next 3 years transporting the original coral pieces the 10 miles to his new home, where he continued what is said to have been a tribute to a lost love. Only 5′ tall and 100 lbs., Ed would work all night and conduct tours during the day for visitors paying the 10 cent admission fee. The engineering feats of some of the creations are astonishing, including a 9 ton gate that could originally be turned by a child, and amazingly rotated within a quarter inch of it’s surrounding walls. There are conflicting theories of how and if one man could create such a monumental structure alone, but you can draw your own conclusions as you tour this South Florida treasure.
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