Where in the Heck (and What in the Heck) is Soloman’s Castle?

Soloman’s Castle might be Florida’s most difficult tourist attraction to find. Don’t ask me how to get there. (Just click on the link and put their address in your GPS. That’s what we did.) But generally speaking, Soloman’s Castle is a dozen or so miles southwest of Ona. Okay, Ona is about nine miles west of Zolfo Springs. Sorry—alright, Zolfo Springs is about twenty five miles west of Sebring.

Early jobs in boat building and construction evolved into wood and metal sculpting for native-Rochester, New Yorker Howard Soloman. He had been selling his whimsical sculptures through galleries in Miami and in the Bahamas when, in 1972, he bought forty acres of mostly swamp property out in the middle of nowhere in Hardee County. Almost entirely by himself, he built his castle, clad with used aluminum newspaper printing plates, to serve as a museum/gallery for his art (Over 500 pieces at last count—much of it fashioned from scrap metal, discarded appliances, and car parts; each piece with a pun-filled story to go along with it). Next he added his family’s living quarters to the back of the castle, and later a giant wooden “Spanish galleon” (it looks more like Noah’s Ark to me) in the moat next to it, to house his restaurant. Soloman’s Castle is open October through June, Tuesday through Sunday. Entrance via guided tour is $10 for adults and $4 for children. If you are “in the neighborhood” drop in and see it, but—not sure I would go quite so far as to recommend it as a sole destination.

Bruce Hunt

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