Edison & Ford Winter Estates
There’s a lot to explore at this truly unique sight, which includes two estates along the Caloosahatchee River (Thomas Edison’s Seminole Lodge and Henry Ford’s The Mangoes), remarkable gardens, and a memorabilia-filled museum. Edison spent part of each year in Fort Myers from 1886 until his death in 1931. His good friend, Henry Ford, bought the neighboring property in 1916, and the two innovators not only socialized but also collaborated.
Though the gardens are beautiful, Edison actually designed them to be utilitarian rather than decorative—a sort of proving ground for plants. Edison, Ford, and their friend Harvey Firestone were on a quest for a domestic rubber source, so Edison established a botanical research company and laboratory on the grounds of his estate. Today, you’ll find more than 1,700 types of plants. Don’t miss the banyan tree, one of the nation’s oldest, or the Heritage Gardens, which once provided food for the tables of both families.
Highlights in the museum include Edison inventions (and a timeline of them), the custom Model T that was a gift from Ford himself, botanic research lab artifacts, and many pictures and documents. One exhibit even showcases the camping trips the two friends took across the United States, complete with Ford’s 1918 custom-built Model T camper. Self-guided audio tours are available, but the historian-led tours (1¼ hours, departing daily on the hour 10–4) are highly recommended.
2350 McGregor Blvd.
- Fort Myers, Florida 33901
- 26.63461500, -81.88056200
- Daily 9--5:30 (last tour at 4).
- Visit Website
- (239) 334-7419