Tour of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates

March 26, 2018 18 Comments

Did you know that Thomas Edison and Henry Ford spent their winters in Fort Myers, FL? I didn’t before my parents moved there a year ago, and since then, I’ve taken a tour of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates three times already! It’s fascinating to see the historical houses and labs, and the gardens are so beautiful 🙂 

Tour of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers, FL

I didn’t realize Fort Myers had such an interesting history, but I’ve loved visiting the Burroughs Home and Edison and Ford’s estate. For a little background, Thomas Edison built his winter estate (Seminole Lodge) and lab in 1885, and Henry Ford bought the home next door (The Mangoes) in 1914. They would move down to Fort Myers in the winter with their families, and their houses and gardens look the same from when they lived there- down to the wicker furniture and pool! Edison brought over a thousand new plants to the area for his experiments (like rubber trees), and you can actually buy some of the plants and flowers for your own gardens. 

You can walk around the grounds with a handheld audio tour that has information about different spots, or you can sign up for tours with a historian (those are a little more expensive). 

Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Edison & Ford Winter Estates art gallery

They turned the groundskeeper’s cottage into an art gallery!

Edison & Ford Winter Estates art gallery

Pink flowers in Florida

Edison & Ford Winter Estates moonlight garden

Edison and Ford would bring their families down to Florida with them, and Edison’s wife Mina did a lot of work with decorating and landscaping. Back in the day, “moonlight gardens” were all the rage, so Mina designed one for their home. They’re made with white flowers and Chinese lanterns so you can enjoy sitting in a garden at night. 

Edison & Ford Winter Estates moonlight garden

Historic pool house

The pool is one of the neatest things at the estate! It was surprisingly shallow, so I’m not sure how they were able to jump off that high dive into the pool. 

Historic pool in Florida

Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Florida river

The estate sits along the Caloosahatchee River. Since Fort Myers wasn’t a very populated area in the 1800s, the river was used for transporting supplies. But it would get so shallow near the shore at low tide that they built a long pier (where those posts are today) so the boats didn’t have to come near the shore and risk getting stuck. 

Florida riverbanks

Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Edison & Ford Winter Estates

You aren’t able to walk inside the house, but the entire house is surrounded by windows and doors to help with the airflow so you can easily see in. In each room, you can see a different looking light fixture called an electrolier, which was designed by Edison. 

Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Edison & Ford Winter Estates

This is the same wicker furniture that Edison used!

Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Historic Ford truck

Right next to Edison’s house is Ford’s. They have a collection of some of his original cars and trucks, and it’s amazing to see how different they look today! Edison and Ford would go camping with their friends, and they would use Ford’s trucks to drive and carry their supplies through swampland and dirt paths. The trucks don’t look that sturdy, but apparently they were! 

Historic Ford truck

Historic Ford truck

Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Fig tree in Florida

Fig tree in Florida

Like I said, I’ve been to the Edison & Ford Winter Estates three times now, and I’ve visited both before and after Hurricane Irma. These photos are of the same giant fig tree, and it’s amazing that it survived the hurricane, but you can see a huge difference in the branches from the first two pictures compared to the second two. 

Fig tree in Florida

Fig tree in Florida

Pink flowers in Florida

There are beautiful flowers and plants and plants all over the estate! Every time I go back, there’s something else in bloom- even in January! It’s a really great place just to leisurely stroll around on a nice day. 

Yellow flowers in Florida

Purple flowers in Florida

Purple flowers in Florida

Pink flowers in Florida

Pink flowers in Florida

Pink flowers in Florida

Goddess statue in Florida

There’s a funny story behind this statue! A real estate developer named James Newton was building a neighborhood across the street from the Edison estate. He commissioned this statue to be made at the front of the entrance and had it covered up when it was first installed, but Mina Edison peeked under the covering. She was appalled that the statue didn’t have clothing and asked James Newton to put some clothes on the statue since Mina would have to look at it every day, and he complied and actually became best friends with the Edisons! He wrote a book about his group of famous friends called Uncommon Friends: Life with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Alexis Carrel & Charles Lindberg, and now the Uncommon Friends Foundation manages the Burroughs Home

Blue flowers in Florida

Purple flowers in Florida

Pink hibiscus in Florida

Edison museum Fort Myers

There’s a museum with even more information about Edison and Ford, and you can see Edison’s lab and darkroom! (Can you guess which one I was most excited about? 😉 ) During one of my visits, there was a presentation about Ford’s impact on WWII, which was really interesting! I had no idea he made planes and built a factory just to help out with war supplies. 

Edison museum Fort Myers
Edison lab in Fort Myers

Edison lab in Fort Myers

Edison lab in Fort Myers

Edison lab in Fort Myers

Edison lab in Fort Myers

Thomas Edison statue

I learn a TON of history every time I visit the Edison & Ford Winter Estates! It’s a great place to see a part of history you normally wouldn’t or to just walk around and admire the flowers and view from the river 🙂 

Save to Pinterest!

Don't miss out!
FREE TRAVEL STOCK PHOTOS!

Get 2 free travel stock photos, plus you'll be the first to get updates on my blog, coupons to my shop, and more free travel photos! 

Invalid email address
No spam, I promise 🙂 And you can unsubscribe at any time.

Julia

18 Comments

  1. Reply

    Rosie Kerrigan

    April 1, 2018

    Wow!! It’s the first time I’m hearing about these estates! They’re so amazing and I love your photos <3

    • Reply

      Julia

      April 1, 2018

      Thank you! 🙂

  2. Reply

    Lisa Michele Burns

    March 31, 2018

    How fascinating! Thanks for sharing so many photos, I love stepping inside historic houses.

    • Reply

      Julia

      March 31, 2018

      Seeing historic houses is one of my favorite things to do when I travel!

  3. Reply

    Becci Abroad

    March 31, 2018

    Beautiful photos and what interesting historical facts – I had no clue about this place! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Reply

      Julia

      March 31, 2018

      Thank you! 🙂

  4. Reply

    Bejal

    March 31, 2018

    Wow what a beautiful place. Really enjoyed discovering the property through your eyes. Great read and thanks for sharing!

    • Reply

      Julia

      March 31, 2018

      Thank you! 🙂

  5. Reply

    Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's

    March 30, 2018

    Wow I’m absolutely in love with the moonlight garden!! I enjoyed the story about uncommon friends and found it pretty funny 😛 Ah it’s so warm and lovely here. I can’t wait for Philly to warm up! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

    • Reply

      Julia

      March 30, 2018

      The moonlight garden was one of my favorite spots! Hopefully it will warm up in Philly soon!

  6. Reply

    Julia

    March 27, 2018

    What beautiful estates! I love visiting this type of house, especially when the furniture is left intact and it feels like stepping in a time machine. The moonlight garden is beautiful – I’d love to spend my days landscaping too haha. Your pictures are lovely, thanks for sharing your knowledge about the estates and your experience of them 🙂

    Julia x
    Last Post: The Best Gap Jumper! | http://juliaspeaksbeauty.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/fashion-jumper-that-makes-me-happy.html

    • Reply

      Julia

      March 27, 2018

      Thank you! I love visited places like this, too!

  7. Reply

    Emily

    March 26, 2018

    What beautiful photos!😊
    It’s such an amazing feeling when you get to witness the impacts that History has on today!!🕵️‍♀️🤓
    Great post Darling as per usual. xoxo
    http://www.beautynbrushes.co.uk

    • Reply

      Julia

      March 27, 2018

      Thank you! It’s always really cool to see history up close!

  8. Reply

    Candi Randolph

    March 26, 2018

    I live in Fort Myers, not far from the Edison Estates, and have to say that I’ve never been there…always working! So I really appreciated seeing the photos. Thank you! One of these days I’m going to be a tourist and go there myself. 🙂

    • Reply

      Julia

      March 26, 2018

      You should definitely go when you get the chance! It’s an amazing place to visit! 🙂

  9. Reply

    Eric Dent

    March 26, 2018

    I love the before and after photos but I hate what it looks like after. Fortunately Everything grows quickly in Florida. Great blog!

    • Reply

      Julia

      March 26, 2018

      Thank you! Yeah it does look really sad after the hurricane, but at least it survived!

LEAVE A COMMENT

RELATED POST

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close