Solomon’s Castle in Ona, Florida, USA. Flickr/Richard Elzey
Just 90 minutes away from Tampa is Solomon’s Castle, a 12,000 square-foot structure that stands in the swamps and backroads of Florida. It was built by a sculptor named Howard Solomon. Solomon began building his castle in 1972 after having moved back from the Bahamas seeking a quiet place to work.
Solomon found the quiet place he was searching for in the Central Florida swamp. He had always liked building things and had a natural talent for it it seemed. He discovered that the land he’d bought didn’t have enough high ground to build the horizontal building he wanted however, so he then decided to build vertical. Essentially, the castle serves as an exhibition gallery for several hundred pieces of Solomon sculpture; “The ones that didn’t sell,” Mr. Solomon explained.
Solomon also made sculptures out of junk, which Solomon himself liked to call, “found objects”. Some of these objects include discarded nuts and bolts, beer cans, sea shells, oil drums, sheet metal and wood. Howard created art from this unlikely collection by using several skills including welding, painting, carpentry, wood turning and a great sense of humor.
Solomon’s Castle has a unique restaurant named Boat In The Moat, a replica of a Spanish galleon that sits in an actual moat. It is reported to be the best restaurant in Ona, Florida.
After Solomon finished the boat, he built a lighthouse to handle the overflow from the restaurant. Four generations of Solomons lived in the castle. Howard Solomon passed away in 2016.
His family carries on their property’s medieval/art/roadside attraction traditions. Please visit the Solomon’s Castle official website to learn more.
Melissa’s career in writing started more than 20 years ago. Today, she lives in South Florida with her husband and two boys.