Thursday, February 25, 2010
Edison/Ford winter homes
One of the must see sights of the area are the winter homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford located in Fort Myers, FL. Thomas Edison visited in 1885 and purchased property to build a home, which was completed by 1887. It was certainly one of his favorite places and he returned there regularly. He spent enough time here that he built a laboratory and conducted many experiments here. He particularly was interested in finding a source for rubber that could be grown in the USA, as was suggested to him by Mr. Firestone. Mr. Firestone was a close friend and regular visitor.
Henry Ford, a former Edison employee and close friend was a frequent visitor and in 1916 purchased the property next door. These winter retreats were the site of many gatherings in subsequent year’s right up to Edison’s death in 1931.
The grounds reflect the interest in things botanical by both Thomas and his wife Mina. Since I am not an avid follower of such things, I can only say that I enjoyed the landscape, especially the various types of trees. For the true garden lover, it would be a place to spend many hours walking the grounds.
There is a self guided walking tour with audio and access to view the first floors of both homes and associated buildings. There is also a small museum covering highlights from Edison’s and Ford’s careers.
Finally, you can visit the laboratory that Edison built on site.
A visit can be a quick overview of the homes and lives of these famous individuals or a more detailed study based on your interests.