There’s a lot I’ve learnt about history in America from taking a two week road trip around Florida. Perhaps one of the more interesting stops was that of the Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers. I’d had no idea these two great men knew each other, yet alone holidayed together. After taking the tour I even learnt it was Edison that created the battery for Ford to use in his cars.
With that knowledge it was easy to then see why Edison and Ford’s estates are one of the nations top ten most visited historic sites. Combine their history as inventors and icons of our past with the lush gardens and buildings in which they lived and how could you not want to see it for yourself. From the beautiful houses, to the pool, Edison’s little office and the larger lab across the road for the Edison Botanic Research Corporation. All of it is a priceless memory of the history of America and the world.
At the site you can take guided tours (with audio guides) or simply wander the 20 acre estate and soak up the history. I was there on a somewhat steamy hot day and just wandering the gardens under the shade was a great way to see the place.
On site both houses have been remarkably restored and while you can’t enter them, there are many windows to poke your head into for a look. I found the structure of the houses quite fascinating, especially Edison’s house as it was almost like two houses connected together in the middle.
If your a Ford fan then you can also find a 1919 Model T Ford and a 1917 Model TT Truck on display behind Ford’s house. Having looked at them myself, I’m glad to see we’ve progressed some somewhat more comfortable forms of transport.
While visiting a site like this may not be for everyone, as someone who’s not American and has not grown up with the history of America being taught to them in school I’m finding more and more reasons I want to explore the backyard of America. I can’t help but wonder if I’ve learnt about St Augustine and Henry Flagler and now of Edison and Ford in Florida what the other states might have for me to discover when I visit them.
I would however love to know how many of my American readers knew of Edison and Ford’s friendship and about their winter estates in Florida? I feel like it’s probably something you would learn in school but indulge my curiosity and let me know in the comments below.