Homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford
Without a doubt, the most famous homes in the Fort Myers/Sanibel area are those of
winter residents Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, located on 17 acres at the gateway
to downtown Fort Myers on McGregor Boulevard.
For years, the Edison & Ford Winter Estates have been among the area’s most popular man-made attractions,
with guided tours of the homes and gardens of the icons who lived there.
Built in 1886, both the main home and guesthouse on Edison’s 14-acre estate are listed
on the National Register of Historic Places.
Even the road fronting the estates is historically significant.
For 15 miles, the boulevard is lined with towering royal palm trees, the first 200 of which
were imported from Cuba and planted by Edison himself.
Visitors tour the inventor’s two-story home, office, laboratory and experimental gardens,
all of which have been meticulously preserved and maintained as when Edison was alive.
While the estate’s museum features rare antique automobiles, photographs and exhibits of some
of his nearly 1,100 patents, the gardens remain lush with rare, tropical vegetation,
including a banyan tree that measures 400 feet around.
It’s reputed to be the largest of its kind in the U.S.
His friend, industrialist Harvey Firestone, gave the banyan tree to Edison.
Automobile magnate Henry Ford purchased the three-acre estate next door to Edison’s in 1916.
Named "Mangoes," the home has undergone extensive renovation to restore it to the days when Ford and
his wife Clara lived there.
In addition to tours of the home, visitors also may view a 1914 Model T, a 1917 Ford truck and
a 1929 Model A.
Fort Myers Beach Cultural Museum / Mound House
The Fort Myers Beach Cultural Museum and Environmental Learning Center offers a different look
at life in the early days.
Known locally as the Mound House, this modest structure is historically significant.
Built in 1906, the Mound House is the oldest surviving home on Fort Myers Beach.
Situated on a prehistoric Indian shell mound overlooking Estero Bay, it is part of a greater
than 2-1/2-acre site that is now owned by the town of Fort Myers Beach and used to
educate visitors about the area’s prehistory, history and ecology.
The Mound House, at 289 Connecticut Street, is open to the public every Wednesday, October through May,
from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Docent-led tours complement self-guided tours of the grounds and house.
Admission is free, with a suggested donation of $2. Group tours are available.
Call for information on special programs associated with the site’s archeological
laboratory, (239) 765-0865.