Edison and Ford Winter Estates

Infobox_nrhp | name = Thomas Edison Winter Estate and Henry Ford Estate

caption = Henry Ford's winter home
locator_x =
locator_y =
location = Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida
lat_degrees = 26
lat_minutes = 38
lat_seconds = 05
lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 81
long_minutes = 52
long_seconds = 48
long_direction = W
built = 1886 (Edison Estate)
1915 (Ford Estate)
added = August 12, 1991 (Edison Estate)
September 8, 1988 (Ford Estate)
governing_body = [http://www.efwefla.org Thomas Edison & Henry Ford Winter Estates, Inc.]

The Edison and Ford Winter Estates contain a historical museum and 17 acre (6.9 hectares) botanical garden on the adjacent sites of the winter homes of Thomas Alva Edison and Henry Ford beside the Caloosahatchee River in southwestern Florida. It is located at 2350 McGregor Boulevard, Fort Myers, Florida, USA. It is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm, including Sundays.


The present site dates from 1885, when Edison first visited Florida and purchased the property to build a vacation home. His home, completed in 1887 and dubbed "Seminole Lodge", served as a winter retreat and place of relaxation until Edison's death in 1931. Edison’s good friend Henry Ford purchased the adjoining property in 1916 where he purchased "The Mangoes" from Robert Smith of New York. Ford's craftsman style bungalow was but in 1911 by Smith. In 1947, Mrs. Thomas Edison deeded the property to the City of Fort Myers in memory of her husband for the enjoyment of the public. It was opened for public tours in 1950. By 1988, the adjacent Henry Ford winter estate was purchased and opened for public tours in 1990. In 2003, the governance of the site was transferred from the City to a new non-profit corporation, Thomas Edison & Henry Ford Winter Estates, Inc. (dba Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Inc) whose mission is to protect, preserve and interpret the site and future growth and development. The new corporation successfully completed a $10 million restoration project in 2006. A separate fundraising arm, Edison-Ford Winter Estates Foundation, Inc., was created to assist the restoration project with no function in governance, programming or development but rather to assist the governing board with the initial restoration.


Edison's botanical garden contains more than a thousand varieties of plants from around the world, including African sausage trees and a convert|400|ft|m|sing=on banyan tree given by Harvey Firestone in 1925. It was originally an experimental garden for industrial products. Later Mrs. Edison gave the garden an aesthetic turn with plantings of roses, orchids and bromeliads.

At present the collections include: "Acalypha hispida", "Arenga pinnata", "Artocarpus heterophllus", "Billbergia sp.", "Blighia sapida", "Bougainvillea glabra", "Bougainvillea spectabilis", "Calliandra haematocephala", "Canage odorata", "Cattleya hybrid", "Cattleya sp.", "Chorisia speciosa", "Citrus sp.", "Clerodendrum speciosissimum", "Cordyline terminalis", "Cycad sp.", "Dendrobium", "Dombeya sp.", "Epidendrum ciliare", "Ficus auriculata", "Ficus benghalensis", "Ficus saussureana", "Hibiscus schizopetalus", "Holmskioldia sanguinea", "Ibosa riparia", "Ixora chinensis", "Kilgelia pinnata", "Leea coccinea", "Malvaviscus arboreus", "Musa sp.", "Parmentiera cereifera", "Plumbago capensis", "Solandra nitada", "Spathoglottis plicata", "Tabernaemontana corymbosa", "Tecoma stans", "Thunbergia erecta", "Tibouchina semidecandra", and hundreds more.

Rubber Laboratory

During the period of 1914-1918 (World War I), Edison became concerned that the cost of rubber was going to drastically rise. He was aware that the cost of production and transportation of this good would, over time, go up, so he began to work with Harvey Firestone and his already good friend Henry Ford to try and find a crop that could grow quickly and, above all, contain enough latex to support his research endeavor. In 1927, the three men contributed $25,000 each and created the Edison Botanic Research Corporation in an attempt to find the "solution" to the rubber crisis. In 1928, the final location of the EBRC was constructed and was the predominant laboratory utilized in this corporation. It was in Fort Myers, Florida that Mr. Edison would do the majority of his research and planting of his exotic plants and trees, sending any results or sample rubber residues up to West Orange, New Jersey, to his large Thomas A. Edison "Invention Factory".

It was not until later in Edison's life (around 1928) that they finally deduced that the weed Goldenrod (Solidago Leavenworthii) was the best producer of latex. Much work would be conducted for months on this plant after this conclusion came about. From distillation of chemicals, to the vulcanization of the wet residues produced, anything and everything was attempted by Edison and his workers.

Although herculean efforts were put forward to the EBRC (both financially and physical labor from the workers), the project failed to find the solution they were looking for. The office/laboratory in Fort Myers shut down in 1934 and the remaining laboratory in West Orange diminished in 1936. Despite Edison's desires, the research was not able to produce rubber from a plant on a large enough scale to deem it economically feasible or commercially successful.

ee also

* List of botanical gardens in the United States


References and external links

* [http://www.nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com/FL/Lee/state.html Lee County listings] at [http://www.nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com National Register of Historic Places]
* [http://www.flheritage.com Florida's Office of Cultural and Historical Programs]
** [http://www.flheritage.com/facts/reports/places/index.cfm?fuseaction=ListAreas&county=lee Lee County listings]
** [http://www.flheritage.com/preservation/markers/markers.cfm?ID=lee Lee County markers]
** [http://www.flheritage.com/services/sites/fht/record_t.cfm?ID=453&type=c&index=36 Edison and Ford Winter Estates]
** [http://www.flheritage.com/services/sites/floridians/?section=f#FortMyers Great Floridians of Fort Myers]


*cite book |title=The Florida Life of Thomas Edison |first=Michele Wehrwein. |last=Albion|date=2008 |isbn=978-0-8130-3259-7
*cite book |title=The Edisons of Fort Myers |first=Tom |last=Smoot|date=2004 |isbn=1-56164-312-2

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Henry Ford — This article is about the American industrialist. For other uses, see Henry Ford (disambiguation). Henry Ford …   Wikipedia

  • Art, Antiques, and Collections — ▪ 2003 Introduction       In 2002 major exhibitions such as Documenta 11 reflected the diverse nature of contemporary art: artists from a variety of cultures received widespread recognition for work ranging from installation to video to painting …   Universalium

  • Fort Myers, Florida — City of Fort Myers, Florida   City   Fort Myers Nickname(s): City of Palms …   Wikipedia

  • List of botanical gardens in the United States — This list of botanical gardens in the United States is intended to include all significant botanical gardens and arboretums in the United States of America. NOTOC ListByUSStateTOC center=yes bottom left=yes washington dc=yes territories=yes… …   Wikipedia

  • Liste des musées en Floride — Museum of Contemporary Art Miami …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Liste botanischer Gärten der USA — Diese Liste der botanischen Gärten in den Vereinigten Staaten soll alle bedeutenden botanischen Gärten und Arboreten der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika enthalten. Die Liste ist alphabetisch sortiert. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Alabama 2 Alaska 3… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Liste botanischer Gärten in den Vereinigten Staaten — Diese Liste der botanischen Gärten in den Vereinigten Staaten soll alle bedeutenden botanischen Gärten und Arboreten der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika enthalten. Die Liste ist alphabetisch sortiert. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Alabama 2 Alaska 3… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Banyan — Taxobox name = Banyan image width = 240px image caption = Illustration of Ficus benghalensis regnum = Plantae divisio = Magnoliophyta classis = Magnoliopsida ordo = Urticales familia = Moraceae genus = Ficus subgenus = (Urostigma) subgenus… …   Wikipedia

  • Suburban Extended Stay Hotel Fort Myers — (Форт Майерс,США) Категория отеля: 2 звездочный отель Адрес …   Каталог отелей

  • Southwest Florida — is a region of Florida , United States located along its gulf coast, south of the Tampa Bay area, west of Lake Okeechobee and mostly north of the Everglades. It consists of five coastal counties from Manatee County south to Collier County,… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.