In 1886 Thomas Alva Edison built a winter home and a laboratory in Fort Myers. In 1906 Edison purchased the building next door and converted it to a guest house. In 1912 Henry Ford and Thomas Edison work together to develop an improved storage battery for the Model T. The men also develop a friendship. In 1916 the Fords purchase "The Mangoes", the home next door to the Edisons. In 1947 Mina Edison deeds the Fort Myers Edison estate to the City of Fort Myers and the estate was opened to the public for tours. In 1988 the adjacent Ford estate was purchase and it was opened to the public in 1990.

The Edison and Ford Winter Estates is a 20 acre property that is home to the Edison and Ford homes, caretaker homes, gardens, pool, Edison's study and laboratory and a museum.

Edison's home. The guest house is built in the same fashion as they were built at the same time.

The dining room in the guest house. The chimes were rung to announce that dinner was ready. Edison installed a "bell system" so the family could contact the staff from different parts of the house. One of the buzzers was installed on the end of the table, so Edison could let the staff know when the family and guests were seated.

Ford's winter home.

This house was built by a entrepreneur named Smith. The interior finish was more elaborate than that in Edison's house.

The remains of the pier. The pier went along way out as the river was shallow.

Of course there were several automobiles on the Ford Estate. The fellow who takes care of the cars started this one for Ed.

The museum was full of photos, memorabilia and items that Edison invented.

Music was played on several of the phonographs.

Edison in partnership with Ford and Goodyear built a laboratory to look for alternate sources of rubber. In 1931 Edison died. The laboratory was shut down with all of the equipment inside.

One view of the laboratory.

Edison had many specimens of potential rubber producing plants brought to and planted at the estate.

This tree was brought from India. Part of the roots are above ground.

A staghorn fern growing on a live oak. I think these are both native to Florida.

Another tree that was brought to Fort Myers is the Banyon tree. In 1927 a small Banyon tree, native to South Asia, was planted. As the long branches of the tree support themselves by producing aerial roots that slowly grow downward into the ground, forming pillar-like roots.

The Banyon tree is so large (3/4 of an acre) it deserves two photos. At one point the tree covered almost an acre but it was pruned back to save the buildings.