If you visit Fort Myers, Florida, there are several things that you can see and do. You can take part in activities such as golfing, boating, or fishing. You can also enjoy the wide variety of shops and restaurants the town has to offer. The restaurants offer some of the best seafood around. There are also great areas to visit such as several museums, historical artifacts and buildings, and the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. Fort Myers is where inventor Thomas Edison purchased land along the Caloosahatchee River in 1886. He constructed a winter home that he dubbed Seminole Lodge where he and his wife Mina stayed until the inventor’s death in 1931. Wanting to spend the winters with the Edison’s, their friends Henry Ford and his wife Clara purchased the adjacent property in 1915 and built a bungalow-style house naming it The Mangoes.
The Estates Today
Today, the Edison & Ford Winter Estates features over twenty acres of lush botanical gardens, boasting over 1,700 plants and one of the largest Banyan trees in the U.S. Visitors can explore nine historic buildings including Henry Ford’s home and Thomas Edison’s main house, guest house, caretaker’s house, the ahead of its time pool complex and the pier built to deliver materials for construction. Also, unique to the estate is Edison’s Botanic Research Laboratory, which was built for researching a domestic source for organic rubber and is now filled with the actual equipment Edison used to conduct his research. A 15,000 square foot air-conditioned museum displays some of Edison’s inventions, artifacts and exhibits as well as a Model-T Ford, which was a gift from Henry Ford. Costumed actors portraying the Edison’s, the Ford’s and their friends can be found milling about, giving visitors a glimpse into how these wealthy residents lived during that time period. Go inside Edison’s Laboratory on a sixty minute Inside the Lab Tour to learn about the operation of the historic Edison Botanical Research Laboratory, a National Historic Chemical Landmark, which has undergone an extensive two-year restoration. Inside the Lab Tour is an exciting, in-depth tour that is not combined with any other Edison Ford Estates tour.
Tours you can Take at the Estates
Learn about the ecology and history of the river that the Edison and Ford families loved so much with a river cruise from Pure Fort Myers. Enjoy an exciting 90-minute river cruise on Pure Fort Myers. There are also cruises that you can go sight seeing on. Here you can see the ecosystem of the Florida area.
Places to Shop at while Visiting
While visiting the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, make sure to stop and shop at the gift shops. There are some great souvenirs and memorabilia you can purchase while you are here. The Edison Ford is the winner of the 2009 National Stewardship Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is an official project of “Save America’s Treasures” at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a Florida Historic Landmark and a National Register Historic Site.