Located in Fort Myers, FL, the Edison & Ford Winter Estates includes the homes and gardens of the two inventors, a museum, and the Edison Botanic Research Laboratory.
Above, the famous banyan tree, planted in 1925 and now, at an acre in diameter, supposedly the third largest in the world. Instead of growing underground, its spaghetti-like roots sprout from branches, eventually thickening and dropping to the ground, together forming what looks like a contiguous tree village.
Thomas Alva Edison purchased this property in 1885 and built Seminole Lodge two years later, as both a winter home for his family and a site for botanical research.
Of course, this state-of-the-art home includes a phonograph and an electrified chandelier:
A portico leads to the guest quarters:
Edison’s office in a small, stand-alone building with the lovely moonlight garden designed by landscape architect Ellen Biddle Shipman in 1929:
Pretty tile next to the cement pool:
In the Estates Museum, you can check out Edison’s many inventions [he held more than 1,000 United States patents and filed patent paperwork every year for a record 65 consecutive years]. My favorite is this bad-ass waffle iron:
Artist Stephen Hayford created this diorama of the Edison Botanic Research Laboratory at 1/18 scale [my photo is deliberately misleading to show the fine level of detail; everything in this room is tiny]:
The didactic materials don’t explicitly say this, but they make it obvious that Henry Ford was Edison’s sidekick, and his winter home, purchased in 1916 and dubbed The Mangoes, is much more modest:
The garden provided recreation for the families, and was also a source of fresh produce as well as material research fodder [specifically, rubber was a major point of focus, though ultimately a failure]. It includes more than 1,000 types of plants:
With a gorgeous site beside the Caloosahatchee River, it’s not hard to see why these snowbirds were attracted to this place:
The Edison & Ford Winter Estates are located at 2350 McGregor Blvd. in Fort Myers, FL.