Fort Myers: Thomas Edison & Henry Ford Winter Estates
Fort Myers Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.
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.