Edison Ford Winter Estates


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North America » United States » Florida » Fort Myers
February 5th 2011
Published: February 26th 2011
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We stopped here on the way to Pensacola, FL and spent several hours exploring the two estates. Thomas Edison bought his estate with 13 acres and two homes that were built. His original plan was to share it with his good friend and business partner Ezra Gilliland who bought the house and 4 acres that were on the south end of the property. Soon after Edison discovered that Mr Gilliland had sold rights to his inventions for far more than he had told Thomas Edison.It was a descrepancy amounting to over $ 100,000 which was a huge amount in the late 1800s. They fought and disolved the partnership. A number of years and several owners later found the south property sold to Henry Ford who was a close friend of Edison and a former worker for him. The two used the estates to grow plants in search of a replacement for rubber among other experiments. While Edison never did find a replacement for rubber, he did invent a huge amount of things that we regard as commonplace in everyday life but when you think about what life would be like without it it boggles the mind. Apart from seeing all of those early inventions there were also a wide variety of plantlife in the beautiful and useful landscaping, there was Edison's pool which was one of the first private pools built in Florida and then there were the stories. Stories such as the fact that Ford, Edison, Harvey Firestone and Naturalist John Burroughs formed a camping group called the four vagabonds. There was also a story about Henry Ford coming home one day to find a Cadillac in his driveway which made him really mad as he hated Cadillacs...he went in and asked his wife what the Cadillac was doing in his driveway and she said that she bought it because she liked Cadillacs. Ford just walked out of the room and didn't bring it up again but less than three weeks later he had arranged for the Ford Motor Company to buy Lincoln Cadillac. For the record Edisons original lab isn't here as Henry Ford bought it, Edisons labs in Menlo, New Jersey and several other historic buildings and transported them to Deerborn Village ( which we hope to see later in the trip)


Additional photos below
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Edison's challengeEdison's challenge
Edison's challenge

Edison had several challenges, a new bigger lab to adapt to and a new marriage to Mina Edison who was much younger than him and had not counted on being rocketed to celebrity status
Edison's pondEdison's pond
Edison's pond

This served several purposes it was a beautiful pond to relax by,it caught the run off from his pool and it provided a place to grow tall plants to shield the Edison's from nosy onlookers on the river who hoped to catch a glimpse of the celebrities.
Edison's PoolEdison's Pool
Edison's Pool

It may not look like much compared to modern pools but this was something in its day as it was one of the first private pools built in Florida....before that if you wanted to swim in a pool you went to the hotel
Edison's lab to tinkerEdison's lab to tinker
Edison's lab to tinker

This was built for Edison by his wife Mina as he was approaching 80 as a place for him to tinker
Moonlight garden descriptionMoonlight garden description
Moonlight garden description

This garden was designed by one of America's first female landscaper who was commissioned by Mina to create this behind his lab that he tinkered in


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