Thomas Edison with his wife Mina spent 29 winters and his last four years living at his “Seminole Lodge” in Ft. Myers Florida. The surroundings of his estate in Ft. Myers are certainly conductive to freeing up one’s mind for creative thinking as well as enjoying the outdoors along the Caloosahatchee River.
Jeanette and I visited his estate while in Florida. The Edison home has been restored and the home’s doors are open so that the public can see where the Edison’s lived. Henry Ford was a friend and neighbor of Thomas Edison and purchased a home adjoining Edison’s home in 1926. It was here that Henry Ford gave Thomas Edison a 1916 Model T Ford valued at $482.75.
The old Ford is kept is perfect mechanical condition and is the star of the annual “Festival of Lights” parade that is held in Ft. Myers each February. Harvey Firestone was also a neighbor to Thomas Edison and he updated the 1916 Ford by replacing the spoke wheels with balloon tires in 1924. It was the association with these early industrial giants that caused Thomas Edison to begin the search for a plant which grew in North American that might replace the source of natural rubber from South America. Harvey Firestone was quite concerned that he might not have enough natural rubber to build his tires. Across the road, Edison set up a research laboratory which was used to test some 16 or 17 thousand different kinds of plants as a potential source of rubber. With the invention of synthetic rubber, the research project came to an end.
Thomas Edison spent his last four years surrounded by nature’s beauty in Ft. Myers. He passed away in 1931 at his family home in New Jersey. His wife Mina recounted that Thomas’s last words as he awoke from a coma were “It is very beautiful over there”. And then he passed on to get a new assignment.