Postcard from the Edison and Ford Winter Estate

by Nathanael Nims /
Nathanael Nims's picture
Apr 04, 2012 / 1 comments

The Edison and Ford Winter Estate is the winter retreat of the famous inventor Thomas Edison, and founder of Ford Motors, Henry Ford. The estate sits on the Caloosahatchee River in Fort Myers, Florida. With its huge banyan trees, royal palms, starfruit trees, and manicured grounds, it makes an impressive and beautiful home.


the Edison and Ford Winter Estate


There are three houses on the property: Edison’s house, Henry Ford’s house, and the guest house. Edison purchased the property in 1885 and built his house in 1887. In 1916, Henry Ford, a good friend of Edison, purchased the adjoining property.


Edison’s house is particularly unusual. In his house, he changed the kitchen into the library because the guest house already had a kitchen that he used. His house also has a separate “nighttime” living space because of his habit of working really late into the night. As an excuse to think, Edison sometimes went fishing from the dock on the river without bait. You can still see this dock today.


Edison did loads of experiments in his laboratories. An experiment unique to the Edison and Ford Estate was his search for a rubber producing plant. During World War I, Edison worried  that rubber would become unaffordable so he, Henry Ford, and Harvey Firestone created the Edison Botanic Research Corporation. When you visit the estate you can still see the laboratories and the crazy looking banyan trees with their many trunks.


Along with the houses and laboratories, there is a cool museum displaying a lot of his inventions. If you’re hungry, there is also little cafe. The Edison and Ford Winter Estate is an interesting place to learn about two famous men who contributed to the country we know today. If you want to see this interesting place of American history, head to to go to the official Edison & Ford Winter Estates site. There are quite a few tours and the prices vary.

Nathanael Nims is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program

Comments (1)

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    11 years 8 months ago

    Nathanael - you sure made me want to go visit - and learn more! I had no idea that they had an estate down there. Up here in Michigan, we're used to Greenfield Village, where you can learn more. Thanks!


    Jessie Voigts, PhD


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