Newspaper asks if Latvian’s castle is wonder of Florida

A Florida newspaper is conducting an online poll to choose the seven wonders of the state, and one of the nominees is the famed Coral Castle created by Latvian immigrant Edward Leedskalnin.

The last day to vote is July 13.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, based in Fort Lauderdale, asked for nominations from readers and narrowed the list to 14, according to its Web site.

Among the nominees is Leedskalnin’s castle-like garden made of coral. It took Leedskalnin 28 years, from 1923-1951, to complete the structure, which legend says is an homage to an unrequited love in his Latvian homeland. Her name was Agnes Scuffs, according to the official Web site of Coral Castle. Scuffs, who at the time was 16 years old, is said to have cancelled her pending marriage to Leedskalnin just one day before the wedding.

The property, in the south Florida community of Homestead, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Rock star Billy Idol’s song “Sweet Sixteen” is based on Leedskalnin’s story. Idol’s music video for the song was filmed at Coral Castle.

Further information about the poll is available from the Sun-Sentinel.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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