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Edison-Ford Winter Estates

The Estates FORT MYERS  Have you ever pondered the question: “I wonder where great inventors spend their long and cold winters?” If you are one of those inquiring investigators, then you need look no further than here. The answer is quite simple, Fort Myers, FL, of course. Fort Myers was the winter home of inventor Thomas Alva Edison and automobile pioneer Henry Ford. In fact, the lived next door to each other along the banks of the Caloosahatchee River.

Exterior of the Edison EstatesIn 1886, Edison brought his wife to Fort Myers for their honeymoon, and she fell in love with the beauty that is Fort Myers. Not long after that visit, the two newlyweds moved into their newly completed summer home that they would dub “The Seminole Lodge.” Thomas and Mina Edison would spend the rest of Thomas’s life retreating to Fort Myers for the winter. The home is still furnished as it was in the 1920’s.

Not long after Thomas and Mina made the decision to make their wintry home at the Seminole Lodge, Thomas meet a bold, young inventor by the name of Henry Ford, at a convention that Thomas was hosting. The two inventors instantly became friends. Henry and his wife Clara made the trip to Fort Myers to stay with the Edison Family and quickly fell in love with the city’s majesty. They would later purchase the lot and the home adjacent to the Edison’s Seminole Lodge. Not to be outdone by a clever name, the Fords named their home “The Mangoes.”Monument In Front Of The Estates

After Thomas Edison’s death in 1931, Mina Edison thought it would be a great idea to donate the 14-acre estate to the city of Fort Myers. She wanted the estate to be open to the public in memory of her late husband’s history changing accomplishments. In 1988, the city of Fort Myers bought the Ford’s estate and in 1990, the two estates combined to become the Edison-Ford Winter Estates.

Henry Ford's Gift Model TToday, the Edison-Ford Winter Estates are open for daily tours that include the two homes, a museum, Edison’s laboratory and his stunning botanical garden. Before you actually get to the home, you must pass under the gigantic Banyan Tree that Harvey Firestone gave Edison for his botanical garden. It remains the largest of its kind in the state of Florida. You can also pass through a gate, attached to a fence that separates the two properties, appropriately named the “Friendship Gate.” The museum boasts a Ford Model-T that Ford gave Edison as a gift, and Edison’s laboratory still houses some of the original bulbs that he created…and they are still functional! Witness conversations between the two families and their friends as re-enactors put on a historical performance for the tour goers.

Join the many that have walked through the wonder that is the Edison-Ford Winter Estates Tour and find out what made these two historical American families fall in love with the beautiful city of Fort Myers.

 

2350 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers, FL 33901 · 239-334-3614

Hours  Open Daily 9:00am-5pm;
Botanical Gardens Tour Thursday & Saturday 9:00am

Payment Method  U.S. Currency, Checks, Traveler's Checks, All Major Credit Cards