Fort Myers Beach has a fascinating history. From its gulf-faring run-in with plundering pirates to its centuries of Spanish control, the area is rife with intriguing and far-reaching cultural stories.
Some of our most inspiring American history comes from two leading masters of invention: Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.
Fort Myers Beach is home to both the Edison and Ford winter estates. If you visit the area and stay at one of our condos in Fort Myers Beach for rent, you can see both sites for yourself. Below we look at the quick history of the estates, some fun facts, and where you can find them.
The Estate of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford
The estate is born out of a very simple concept: escaping the winter. Both Edison and Ford found Fort Myers Beach their ideal spot. First to come was Edison, who bought 13-acres on the Caloosahatchee River for the tidy price of $2,750.
Ford and Edison were famous friends. After Ford visited his close friend, he bought the land next to Edison. He crafted his bungalow estate, developing lush gardens and walking paths.
What Can You Find?
The estate is divided into multiple parts. You will likely become first enamored by the stunning gardens. You can explore about 20 acres of gardens, including many ficus trees planted in the days of the two innovative leaders and the family. There are more than 1,700 plants from six continents present here. You can even find the epic and grand Edison Ford winter estates banyan tree. Many visitors come solely for the majestic gardens.
The site is also home to some other treats, such as the laboratory and museum. The latter features halls of classic cars as well as an overview of the history of the estates. You can see letters, notes, and artifacts from the development of the grounds. You can also get insight into the minds of these creative masters, including sketches and Edison’s very own 1916 Model T.
The laboratory is illuminating. It was originally conceived by Edison and Ford as a means to develop alternative product sources. The pair was concerned about the overreliance of rubber for so many parts. Rubber supplies could seriously impact their respective enterprises. The two developed the lab under the name the Edison Botanic Research Corporation. Interestingly, the lab was more than a novelty. The two did eventually find a viable alternative in the form of Goldenrod after studying well over 1,000 plant species.
You can still see a chemical processing area, grinding room, darkroom, and more.
History enthusiasts will love to dig around in this classic laboratory space to get a peek into the minds of these geniuses.
The estate is famous for a few special seasonal features. Perhaps the most popular is the Edison Ford winter estates Christmas lights. Every season, the grounds are coated in shimmering holiday lights. It is just another reason to visit.
There’s something for everyone here. Kids can love the lights while history enthusiasts can spend hours in the laboratory or museum.
Where did Edison build a winter home in his later years? While we discussed the history and the home, where is it located?
Both estates are located at 2350 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers. In good high-class fashion, the estates is positioned right along the water.
The houses are open daily except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Reach out to our team for information on any of our Fort Myers beachfront vacation rentals you find available for your vacation dates. We can help you see the estates, and many other attractions, on your upcoming escape.