If you love history, then you would be amazed to visit these estates of the two greatest American innovators – Thomas Edison, the inventor of the electric light bulb and the phonograph and Henry Ford, the pioneer of the automobile who were not only the good friends but also built their multi-millions winter homes next to each other about a mile south of downtown Fort Myers, Florida.
I visited Edison and Ford Winter Estates last month during my south Florida trip and just loved it! The estates not only has the grand homes, but also the botanical garden (with trees planted by Edison himself), a research laboratory and a museum with hundreds of artifacts and inventions from the entrepreneurs.
The entrance of the museum has a statue of Thomas Elva Edison and more than 15,000 square foot Estates Museum featuring an impressive collection of inventions, artifacts and special exhibits. A tour of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates Museum includes Main Gallery, Edison After Forty, Into the Wild: Edison, Ford & Friends, Hall of Inventions, Edison Electric Light & Power, Edison Botanic Research Corporation (EBRC), Edison’s Green Energy Solar Power, The Wizard Invents etc featuring the world-class cultural and educational resource honoring the innovation and creativity of two of America’s most influential individuals, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.
The Edison and Ford Winter Estates is on the other side of the Estates Museum. As soon as you will enter inside, you’ll see Edison Winter Estate – Seminole Lodge first and get astounded by the architecture, furnishings, and decor of these rambling buildings. Seminole lodge consists of the Main House, Guest House, Caretakers House and the Pool Complex. Going further, you’ll see Ford Winter Estate – The Mangoes which has the Ford porch and the vintage garage, both offering a spectacular riverfront view of the Caloosahatchee River. All the buildings are lavish in itself and boasts the saga of these two greatest history buffs. Let the below pictures speak for themselves!
The Edison and Ford Winter Estates contain around 21 acres of botanical garden on the adjacent sites of the winter homes of Thomas Alva Edison and Henry Ford beside the Caloosahatchee River. You can see more than a thousand varieties of plants from around the world, including African Sausage trees and a 400-foot banyan tree planted in the late 1920s. The gardens feature plants grown for industrial purposes (such as bamboo, used in light bulb filaments) and those which Mina Edison planted for their beauty, including roses and orchids. The property also has an orchard where you will find tropical fruit trees including mangoes, apples, citrus, sapote, tamarind, papaya, lychee and logan.
My favorite part about Edison and Ford Winter Estates was a million dollar splendid riverfront view of Caloosahatchee River from their entire property. I can sit for hours soaking myself in this perfect Floridian vibes forever if I can get an opportunity to stay in this kind of magnificent home!
The Edison and Ford Winter Estates offers various kinds of tour options including Complete Estate tours, History tours, Museum and Laboratory visits, Garden tours, Inside the home tours etc that you can check it out here for more information.
Edison and Ford Winter Estates also offers River Cruises that departs from The Marina at Edison Ford. River excursions will take you up the Caloosahatchee River to the historic railroad bridge, with great views of the island rookery filled with shorebirds. You’ll learn Edison Ford river history, river ecology, the history of the Caloosahatchee and Fort Myers, as well as seeing dolphins, manatees, birds and river life up close if you’re lucky!
Edison and Ford Winter Estates also celebrates special events throughout the year that you can check before visiting. Edison and Ford Winter Estates also offers private party options for special receptions or private luncheon or dinner. For more information, you can check here.
The Final Verdict
Edison and Ford Winter Estates has been declared as National Registered Historic Site as well as received the Award of Excellence for restoration from both the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Garden Clubs, Inc. The site is also a Florida Historic Landmark and has been designated as a National Historical Chemical Landmark by the American Chemical Society, the first site in the state of Florida to receive this honor. No doubt, this is a must trip for any visitor coming to South West Florida! I had an amazing experience visiting Edison and Ford Winter Estates and would highly recommend to anyone who has an interest in history, science, and technology.
Do share your experience if you’ve visited Edison and Ford Winter Estates in the comments below? If not, what do you think about this place?