Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Who Knew Thomas Edison was such a Fascinating Guy

While on holiday, we managed to get in a visit to the Edison and Ford winter estates in Fort Myers, FL. It is called the Edison and Ford estates because they are next door to each other. Thomas and Henry were great friends and when the estate next door to Edison went up for sale, Ford jumped at the chance to live next door to his great friend and mentor.

Other than some small inventions (like electricity and cement!) I really didn't know much about Thomas Edison. Now I'm fascinated. More so with his wife, Mina, than with him, but who knew what a fascinating life they lead.

On the way to the estates I asked the husband why the Edisons and Fords with all their money would choose to build on the Caloosahatchee river instead of on Sanibel or Captiva Islands. It seems that they made a good choice, it was incredibly beautiful and I can only imagine what a paradise it was back in the day.

One of the perks of inventing cement is that you have the first pool in Florida. 

To keep out the curious eyes of those boating on the river, they hid the pool and its famous
inhabitants from view with banana trees.

The Edisons had two houses next to each other, one for their family and one for guests.

Edison's wife, Mina, was an avid traveller and garderner and brought back plants from around the world. She also liked to mix it up and was known for attaching plants such as orchids and ferns to palms and other trees. The horticulturists who take care of the estate today have kept up this practice.

 Lime trees

Mysore tree from India

The Moonlight Garden named as such because Mina included plants that are enhanced by the light of the moon.

There's so much more I could post about this visit, but it would be endless. I'll just share the rules for guests as posted by Edison's daughter, Madeline. It is definitely tongue in cheek.  I'll include more photos on flickr.