Friday, September 4, 2009

KEY2009 -- Coral Castle

Came across Coral Castle on the drive South to the Keys. On paper, it’s a limestone/coral structure built by Edward Leedskalnin back in the early 1900s over the course of 28 years or so. Each piece weighs several tons, and Ed weighed about 130lbs so there’s some question on how he did it. He did most of his work by lantern light, and the site is built for privacy. The stones have not shifted after decades or a direct hit on August 24, 1992 by the Cat5 Hurricane Andrew (which leveled everything else in the area.)

To me, this is one big monument to stalking. The local tour and pamphlets heavily push a ‘love story’ background to the whole thing. Ed was dumped the day before his wedding by his 16 year old fiancĂ© back in Latvia. After coming to Florida he supposedly built this place as a monument to his ex-fiancĂ©.

Whatever the case, it’s a cool little tourist trap to hit along the way. . .

The obligatory “heres where you're at” sign. . .




. . . one of many life sized pictures of Ed, this one being at the front turnstile. Seems angry to me. . .




. . .a map of the Coral Castle site. . .




. . .looking towards Coral Castle and the landscaping from the front gate. . .










. . .most of the stone was brought in from elsewhere, but the newer sections were quarried from this area. . .




. . .the South Wall. . .




. . . Coral Castle is registered with the National Register of Historic Places. . .





. . .Ed used to charge 10 cents for a tour of the grounds. . .




. . .the front entrance of Coral Castle (the signs were added when the site was transformed to a true tourist trap). . .




. . .the door bell. . .




. . .looking in through the front door. . .




. . .the obligatory “if you hurt yourself you're on your own” sign. . .




. . .the stairs up to Ed's apartment. . .




. . .another lifesized cutout of Ed, standing in his apartment. Still looks angry to me. . .




. . .looking around the apartment. . .







. . .the view across Coral Castle from Ed's apartment. . .








. . .underneith Ed's apartment, he had a workroom to store all his tools. . .










. . .one of the scenic pieces of coral on the grounds. Looks like there's a monkey head near the center. . .






. . .Ed's cooking stove. . .






. . .looking across the grounds from the cook stove. . .





. . .a heart shaped table, estimated to be 5000 lbs. . .




. . .“Repentance Corner”, supposedly intended to be a place where Ed's bride would repent and think about how she hurt Ed should she ever return to him. . .






. . .looking out from “Repentence Corner”. . .




. . .Ed's beds. They are just as comfortable as they look. . .




. . .a shot of the 20foot tall Cresent Moon on the east wall. Also on the wall was a carving of Mars and Saturn. . .










. . .the North Wall tower. . .









. . .the sun dial in the middle of the grounds, which can keep time within a couple of minutes betwee 9am and 4pm. . .




. . .looking towards the Moon and Planets carvings from the sundial. . .




. . .the Polaris Telescope on the North Wall, which is said to be perfectly focused on the North Star. It stands 25 feet tall. . .




. . .the Florida Table, 20 foot long and surrounded by 10 chairs. The hole where Lake Okeechobee looked like it was added after the fact. . .






. . .across the grounds looking from the ”Gratto of Three Bears“. . .




. . .walking out around through the North Gate. The North Tower and the Saturn carving at the top. . .




. . .looking towards the North Wall from the outside. . .







. . .looking towards the Cresent Moon carving, the 9 ton gate, and the Obelisk from the outside. . .




. . .looking through the 9 ton gate, which used to be able to opened with little effort (when it was functional). . .




. . .the Obelisk from outside of the wall. . .




. . .looking back across the Florida Table and the rest of the grounds. . .






. . .some of the scenic plantlife on the grounds. . .














. . .inside the gift shop, a certificate showing the registration of Coral Castle in the National Register of Historic Places. . .





. . .photos from the early days of the site. . .








. . .scenes from “Wild Women from Wongo” were shot onsite in 1958. . .




. . .and this was really the biggest surprise to me -- many pictures of Billy Idol who visited back in the 80s when filming the video for Sweet Sixteen (a song apparently written about Ed's story). . .




. . .he looks happy (and a tad out of place).