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The Edison and Ford Winter Estate

When Thomas Edison first visited Fort Myers Florida it must have looked vastly different than today. No nondescript urban sprawl, no budget motels and no 2 for 1 T-shirt shops. In fact little existed in the area aside from the abandoned fort of the city’s namesake. So it’s pretty remarkable that someone of Mr. Edison and Mr. Ford’s celebrity decided to develop their winter estate there and lovingly groom and maintain it for more than half a century. By the time Mina Edison deeded the property to the city in 1947 there’s little doubt that the landscape had independently evolved outside the estate.

All of this is, of course, fortunate for us as there’s now a definitive “there’s nothing like this” space in an otherwise unremarkable city that’s squeezed between Gulf, river and swamp. Not only is the estate a perfect slice of solitude for an afternoon stroll it is more importantly a historical time-capsule. Historians and environmentalists will revel in the ability to view the natural landscape along the banks of the Caloosahatchee River manicured as it was more than a century ago and science and technology buffs will geek-out on seeing the museum quality preservation of one of the world’s greatest scientists and inventors’ workshops and personal living space.

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