This afternoon, Paula (a new friend I met this morning), Chic, and I went to the winter estates of Edison & Ford. I wasn't aware of how many things Edison discovered, invented, and researched! Visit the Edison-Ford website
to learn alot about the place and his story.
The huge banyan (or ficus) tree between the parking lot and the ticket center is impressive in itself. It was given to Edison by Mr. Firestone as a birthday present in 1925 when it was a twig about 4 feet high. Today, it has 232 trunks! It would have alot more if the tree's growth wasn't controlled - it could have taken over the grounds where the museum, ticket center, restrooms, and rubber laboratory are.
Ft. Myers considers itself lucky that they found out that Edison's house was infested by termites four years ago. They replaced alot of wood and while they were at it, installed metal poles in the support beams for hurricane readiness. Because of that, the house still stands today. They are still renovating the house, so the furniture and stuff are in the museum instead of in the house.
Charlie and Wilma took out enough trees that one can see the Caloosahatchee River from the road that divides his estate from the museum and lab. There was a bougainvilla bush that reached as high as the adjacent palm trees before the storms, but no is only about half their height.
I never knew that Edison was into plants so much. I didn't know he was such a good friend of Ford and Firestone to get so intimately involved with the cars and finding a way to make rubber. He used the goldenrod weed to produce rubber! But his lab and findings were never put into production.
Edison got into cement, for goodness sake! And how about wooden products, including children's furniture!!
He was very deaf and used that deafness to help him focus on his work, sleep soundly when he did sleep, and develop things like the typewriter, films, and other things to make being able to hear not so important.
Ford didn't spend winters here as much as Edison did. He came down with his family and entourage for a week each year to celebrate Edison's birthday (Feb. 11, 1847). After Edison died in 1931, Ford didn't come back, so I guess he wasn't as impressed with the area as Edison was.
I liked the classic Fords on the property. I was impressed by the truck in the garage and by the chuck wagon in the museum, as it was used by the family when camping and traveling between New Jersey and Florida!
I saw this sculpture
on a brochure and found it in their Centennial Park about a mile east of the estates! I had thought maybe it didn't survive hurricanes, so it was quite the surprise. The statue
in commemoration of the blacks serving in the Civil War was interesting enough to me to show you what they say, if you can read them.
was across the street from the bank I was at!