Fort Myers: Thomas Edison & Henry Ford Winter Estates

Fort Myers Travel Blog

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Thomas Edison Winter Estate and Captiva Island, Fort Myers, Florida

Heading I-75 south to Fort Myers...It will be a two and half hour drive from Tampa. Exit 136 in Fort Myers, head west on to Colonial Blvd. until you come to McGregor Blvd. turn right and the Estates are two miles down on the right. www.efwefla.org or 239-334-7419.

The Seminole Lodge - Thomas Edison purchased the 134 acres in 1885. Alden Frink of Boston, Massachusetts designed the house based on sketches on Thomas Edison. The Main house and the Guest house cost $6000 eah and are 3,900 square feet each. The Main House - Dining Room, Library, Sitting Room, Bathrooms, and Bedrooms.

Edison's Estate
Guest House - Dining Room, Bedrooms, Sitting Room, and Bathrooms. The furniture reflects a casual lifestyle; purchased from Proctor & Company of New York, as well as from the Edison's West Orange, New Jersey home -- Glenmont.

The Mangoes - The home was built in 1911 and purchased by Henry Ford in 1916. Cost $20,000 and is 3000 square feet in the Bungalow Style. The house has a living room, dining room, butlers pantry, kitchen, bedrooms, dressing rooms, bath, and bedrooms.

Edison's Office and Moonlight Garden - The Little Office and Moonlight Garden were added to the Edison Estate in 1929. The 1886 laboratory was moved up to Dearborn, Michigan. To replace the lab Henry Ford commissioned to have the Moonlight Garden and Edison's Little Office built. Both were favorite spots of the Edisons in their later years at the Seminole Lodge.

The Ford Estate
Ellen Biddle Shipman, one of the first female landscape architects, designed the Moonlight Garden.

Edison Caretaker's House - Edison purchased the house in 1885. The cracker-style house was used as a stopover for cattle drovers moving herds down the old Wire Road(McGregor Blvd.). Samuel Summerlin was the youngest son Jacob Summerlin, one of the largest cattle owners in the state. In the early 1860's Summerlin had a crude road constructed  from Fort Ogden to Punta Rassa. He built shippiong pens and a dock where boats went of to Cuba with cracker cattle and returned with commodities as flour and sugar.  Samuel Summerlin sold the property to Edison in June of 1879 for $500.

Edison Botanic Research Laboratory - During WW1, Edison, Ford, and Firestone became aware that the supply of rubber in the U.S. could be cut off and there would not be major cost to their industries.

Banyon Tree
In 1927, they set up the Edison Botanic Research Company. The Lab was built in 1928 so that Edison could find a source of natural rubber from a plant that could grow in the U.S.; opened January 1929. The funding for the project was $75,000 from each of the three men.  Edison focused on goldenrod, a comon weed, which grows to 3-4 feet with a 5% yield. He developed a strain that grew to a height of 12 feet and had a yield of 12% latex.

Banyan Tree - Harvey Firestone gave a four foot Banyan tree to Thomas Edison in 1925. This type of tree produces a white milky sap(latex) that can be used to create rubber. This amazing tree is now over an acre in diameter, and is understood to be the second largest in the world. They are native to India.

There is also a museum, ,garden shop, gift shop, and a cafe.

Before Interstate 75 was built you had to travel the two lane road US Hwy 41(Tamiami Trail) from Tampa to Miami.

Next in the Florida Series we will visit Historic Saint Augustine. The Oldest city in the United States. We will visit Castillo San Marcos, Colonial Spainish Quarter, Oldest House National Historic Landmark, and Ponce De Leon's Fountain of Youth. Saint Augustine is located on Florida's east coast south of Jacksonville.

SheLuvz2Fly says:
Nicely done!!
Posted on: Apr 05, 2008
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Thomas Edison Winter Estate and C…
Edisons Estate
Edison's Estate
The Ford Estate
The Ford Estate
Banyon Tree
Banyon Tree
Entrance to Edison & Ford Winter E…
Entrance to Edison & Ford Winter …
Edison and Ford Winter Estate
Edison and Ford Winter Estate
Edison and Ford Winter Estate
Edison and Ford Winter Estate
Thomas A. Edison, the man of inven…
Thomas A. Edison, the man of inve…
Banyon Tree, native to India
Banyon Tree, native to India
Banyon Tree
Banyon Tree
1937 Ford Business Coupe
1937 Ford Business Coupe
Edisons Portland Cement
Edison's Portland Cement
75,000 watt light bulb
75,000 watt light bulb
50,000 watt light bulb
50,000 watt light bulb
1905-1908 Multiphone
1905-1908 Multiphone
1906 Edison Business Phonograph
1906 Edison Business Phonograph
Botanic Research Laboratory
Botanic Research Laboratory
Botanic Research Laboratory
Botanic Research Laboratory
Botanic Research Laboratory, Ediso…
Botanic Research Laboratory, Edis…
Botanic Research Laboratory
Botanic Research Laboratory
Botanic Research Laboratory
Botanic Research Laboratory
Botanic Research Laboratory
Botanic Research Laboratory
Leaved Fig
Leaved Fig
Edisons Home
Edison's Home
Edisons Home
Edison's Home
Edisons Home
Edison's Home
Edisons House
Edison's House
Edisons Yard
Edison's Yard
Front Pourch
Front Pourch
The Edisons Bedroom
The Edison's Bedroom
The Edisons Bedroom
The Edison's Bedroom
The Edisons Bedroom
The Edison's Bedroom
Mrs. Edisons sitting room
Mrs. Edison's sitting room
Mrs. Edisons sitting room
Mrs. Edison's sitting room
Mrs. Edisons sitting room
Mrs. Edison's sitting room
Edisons Livingroom
Edison's Livingroom
Edisons Livingroom
Edison's Livingroom
Edisons Livingroom
Edison's Livingroom
Edisons Livingroom
Edison's Livingroom
Edisons Livingroom
Edison's Livingroom
Edisons Library
Edison's Library
Edisons Library
Edison's Library
Edisons Library
Edison's Library
Edisons Library
Edison's Library
Edisons Library
Edison's Library
Edisons Library
Edison's Library
Edisons Library
Edison's Library
Edisons Library
Edison's Library
Tarpon, Edison caught this at the …
Tarpon, Edison caught this at the…
Edisons Livingroom
Edison's Livingroom
Edisons Dinning Room
Edison's Dinning Room
Edisons Dinning Room
Edison's Dinning Room
Edisons Dinning Room
Edison's Dinning Room
Edisons Dinning Room
Edison's Dinning Room
Edisons Dinningroom
Edison's Dinningroom
Edisons Dinning Room
Edison's Dinning Room
Edisons Dinning Room
Edison's Dinning Room
Edisons Dinning Room
Edison's Dinning Room
Edisons kitchen
Edison's kitchen
Edisons House facing the river
Edison's House facing the river
Edisons House facing the river
Edison's House facing the river
Hedge Bamboo, native to China
Hedge Bamboo, native to China
Areca Palm, native to Madagascar
Areca Palm, native to Madagascar
Chinese Hibiscus, native to tropic…
Chinese Hibiscus, native to tropi…
Henry Ford
Henry Ford
The Ford House
The Ford House
The Ford House (The Mangoes)
The Ford House (The Mangoes)
Front Pourch
Front Pourch
Front Pourch
Front Pourch
Livingroom
Livingroom
Livingroom
Livingroom
Livingroom
Livingroom
Grandmother Clock
Grandmother Clock
Fords Dinning Room
Ford's Dinning Room
Dinning Room
Dinning Room
Fords Kitchen
Ford's Kitchen
The Kitchen
The Kitchen
The Kitchen
The Kitchen
The Fords bedroom
The Ford's bedroom
The Fords bedroom
The Ford's bedroom
The Fords bedroom
The Ford's bedroom
The Fords bedroom
The Ford's bedroom
Australian Pine
Australian Pine
Australian Pine
Australian Pine
Leaved Fig
Leaved Fig
Leaved Fig
Leaved Fig
Bottle Palm
Bottle Palm
Giant Green Bamboo
Giant Green Bamboo
Palm
Palm
Babacu or Babassu Palm, native to …
Babacu or Babassu Palm, native to…
Cardboard Palm
Cardboard Palm
Bamboo and Crouton
Bamboo and Crouton
Awesome reds and yellows
Awesome reds and yellows
Moonlight Garden
Moonlight Garden
Moonlight Garden
Moonlight Garden
Moonlight Garden
Moonlight Garden
Edisons Office, great photo!!!!
Edison's Office, great photo!!!!
Edisons Office
Edison's Office
Edisons Garden
Edison's Garden
Rock Fountain
Rock Fountain
Caretakers House, Cracker House
Caretaker's House, Cracker House
Caretakers House
Caretaker's House
Caretakers House
Caretaker's House
Caretakers House, Ford 1919 Model…
Caretaker's House, Ford 1919 Mode…
Caretakers House, Ford 1919 Model…
Caretaker's House, Ford 1919 Mode…
Caretakers House
Caretaker's House
Mike
Mike
Mike
Mike
Mike
Mike
Mike
Mike
Me
Me
Me
Me
Me
Me
Me
Me
Me
Me
Mike
Mike
Row of Palms
Row of Palms
Entrance to Edison & Ford Winter E…
Entrance to Edison & Ford Winter …
34 km (21 miles) traveled
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Fort Myers
photo by: vances