Back in 1886, Thomas Edison bought land in Fort Myers, along the beautiful Caloosahatchee River and built his winter home which was given the name Seminole Lodge. This is where he spent the winters with his wife Mina until he died in 1931. Since they wanted to spend their winters with the couple, Henry and Clara Ford bought the adjoining property and built a house in bungalow style and named the house The Mangos.
Today, these estates feature more than 20 acres of gorgeous botanical gardens and feature more than 1,700 plants. You can also see one of the United States’ biggest Banyan trees.
Exploring the Estates
You can explore a total of 9 historic buildings which includes the house of Henry Ford and the main house, caretaker’s house, pier and pool complex of Thomas Edison. The pier was built for delivering materials to use for construction. Another favorite of visitors is Edison’s Botanic Research Laboratory (EBRC). This had been built to research domestic sources for an organic source for rubber. Now it’s filled with the equipment that Edison actually used for conducting research. There’s an air-conditioned museum that’s 15,000 square feet displaying some artifacts, inventions, and exhibits along with his Model-T Ford. This car had been given to him by Henry Ford. There are actors in costume who are portraying the Ford’s, Edison’s and their friends. These give the visitors a look at how the residents were living during the period of time.
The Research Laboratory of Thomas Edison
Visitors can enter the lab of Thomas Edison on an hour long Inside the Lab Tour. Here you will learn about how the research laboratory operated, which is a National Historic Chemical Landmark. The lab has gone through an extensive restoration which took two years. This tour is very exciting and in-depth that isn’t combined with any of the other tours of the estates. The tours are available on Tuesdays at 10:30 am. Prices are
- Members: $10
- Adult nonmembers $40
- Children 6 to 12 $16
Thomas Edison’s final major project for research was to find a natural rubber domestic source. You can see as well as experience an exhibit that shows how he started becoming interested in it and how important natural rubber is. There are many things that are included in the exhibit such as a floor of rubber, his original laboratory results about the amount of rubber each plant and tree produced, rubber samples in different degrees of completion and a film which depicts a recreation of the rubber experiment.
This interactive exhibit is great for children and families. There’s a variety of rotating stations that have themes from understanding the sound waves to vehicle construction and they will challenge the visitors to put themselves in an inventor’s mindset.
Timeline of Innovation Exhibit
This exhibit’s an extensive chronological exhibit both of Ford and Edison’s big innovations. This timeline will highlight the achievements in many fields and it showcases a lot of very interesting artifacts. This exhibit also provides the visitors with the narrative about how Ford, Edison and other inventors had built on the earlier innovations for creating their inventions.
If you are a history enthusiast then you will definitely want to check out the winter homes of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison. You will see part of history and get a look into the life of two men who have made a big difference in our world. Come to Southwest Florida and visit the estates – it’s a special trip and time you’ll always remember!
Planning a Trip to Florida?
After seeing the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford Winter Estates, return to the beauty and comfort of a home from Naples Florida Vacation Homes. We have a wide selection of homes located all over the Naples area. Whether you’re hoping to squeeze in a few rounds of golf during your visit or you’d like to relax by a private pool, you’ll find the perfect home to fit your needs.
Check out our rentals and book today! We look forward to having you.