"" Writer's Wanderings: The Coral Castle Or Rock Gate

Saturday, February 25, 2023

The Coral Castle Or Rock Gate

The sign carved into stone says "Adm. 10¢" but that was a long time ago and applied to Ed Leedskalnin's Rock Gate which is what he called his creation honoring his lost love. Today's price is $18 and well worth it. We had a guide named Andrea (originally from Chile) who had us in stitches most of the time but was so well versed on the details and history of Coral Castle that it was almost overwhelming. 

After a movie that runs in a loop we never finished due to the fact that it was too hard to hear with traffic noise from the outside and because Andrea called out that the guided tour was about to begin. We hadn't realized that we would have a guide. As she joked, "We're going back in time. We have real people now instead of audio machines." I liked the real people.

Just inside the entrance there is a bell hanging on a coral stone wall. Back in the day when Ed began taking people on tours, you would pay your entrance fee and ring the bell twice for him to know you wanted a tour. Ring it once or more than twice and he ignored you.

To say the least, the more I learn about Ed Leedkalnin, the more I understand how people were so fascinated with him. All of the work he did was at night. Everyone says it was because he didn't want anyone to see how he did what he did. Do you suppose the Florida heat was also incentive to work in the cool of the night? 

Ed's oven

Almost all of the chairs (that weigh tons) you see in the Castle could rock and they did so until just a few years ago. Weather and erosion have changed the dynamics a bit. Ed had chairs for all sorts of reasons. My favorite was the one that looked like a recliner. It was one of his reading chairs. He did a lot of reading, gleaning from the scientific magazines he would bike to the store to purchase. Although there is some thought that the reason he read them was to disprove the theories they presented.

There are several different areas of the Castle or Rock Gate that were like rooms only not separated by walls. One area was the kitchen where Ed had a fire pit with a closed kettle that hung over it to cook meals in. If I remember correctly, our guide said it was made from motor parts of an old car. She called it the "original crock pot." She also said that Ed would sometimes cook hot dogs in it and sell them to tourists for twenty cents each. Bob ordered two but she just laughed. 

The Florida table

There are several tables scattered around, One is in the shape of a heart and another that stands out is in the shape of the state of Florida complete with Lake Okeechobee although the lake is not round as it is in the table. 

Of course if you are going to cook and live in the Castle, you need water. Ed dug a well that looked to be about 6-8 feet deep. It had steps leading down to it because that was also where he kept his food cool. He rigged a winch to draw water up from below. The pole and handle were hewn from a tree and its root.

Ed worked and lived without electricity and running water but that doesn't mean he didn't have a bathroom. I'll show you that in the next post.

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