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Edison and Ford Winter Estates

Mon Oct 7th, 2019

Edison and Ford Winter Estates

People who visit the Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers have the privilege of witnessing the winter residences of two of the most brilliant and innovative individuals in human history. Walking across the estates, your eyes will take in historical buildings, breathtaking gardens, Edison Botanic Research Lab and the Inventions Museum.

On select days, Edison Ford provides tour options where you can go inside the homes and inside the lab. In this blog, we’ll discuss areas you will visit when taking a tour of the Edison and Ford Winter Estate.

Historic Homes

  • The Edison Main House - The original design of the Main House included a kitchen and dining room. In 1906, the Edison’s remodeled these rooms to serve as family bedroom suites, since the newly renovated Guest House had a kitchen. The Main House includes a library, study, bedrooms and Edison’s den.
  • The Edison Guest House - Famous guests of the Guest House included Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, President-elect Herbert Hoover, and many others. The Guest House includes a sitting room, dining room, kitchen, guest bedrooms and quarters for serving staff.
  • Edison Caretaker’s House - The original “cracker” style house was used by cattlemen as they drove their herds South. Edison expanded the house, adding a kitchen, garage, and chauffeur’s quarters. Edison’s caretakers lived on the property all year long while maintaining the estate.
  • Henry Ford’s Winter Estate (The Mangoes) - Ford purchased the home adjacent to the Edison Winter Estate. The two-story riverfront home was built in the Craftsman architectural style. The Ford’s sold The Mangoes in 1945 to a private family who then sold the estate to the City of Fort Myers in the late 1980s. The Ford Winter Estate was opened to the public in 1990.
  • Ford Caretaker’s Cottage - The Ford Caretaker’s Cottage was originally a garage and caretakers’ residence. Today, visitors can enjoy light refreshments including locally made ice-cream and purchase unique books and gifts in the historic Ford Cottage Shoppe.


Edison and Ford established a garden that today, contains more than 1,700 plants representing more than 400 species from six continents and was formally known as the “research gardens.” Some of the top garden attractions are the:

  • Moonlight Garden
  • Banyan Tree
  • Cycads
  • Butterfly Garden
  • Tropical Fruit Trees
  • Succulent Garden


In 2014, the American Chemical Society designated the Edison Botanic Research Laboratory as a National Historic Chemical Landmark. The lab is the only site in the state of Florida to receive this title and is a true national treasure! Edison sampled over 17,000 plants for testing to seek a source of rubber, eventually choosing Goldenrod as the best option.


The recently renovated Edison Ford Museum features 15,000 square feet of air-conditioned exhibits, thousands of artifacts, and a wealth of opportunities for visitors to learn about the innovative minds of two American icons!