Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog - Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Archive for December, 2012

The History of the Christmas Light

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 19th

In 1878, Thomas Edison began the difficult process of perfecting the electric light bulb. Just two years later, during the Christmas season of 1880, Edison displayed a strand of electric lights outside his lab in Menlo Park, New Jersey. Passersby on a nearby train would have been among the first to witness what would become a defining trend in the way America celebrates Christmas.

However, electric Christmas lights did not catch on immediately. In 1882, a colleague of Edison’s named Edward Johnson developed a strand of red, white and blue Christmas lights and displayed them on a rotating Christmas tree. In 1895, President Grover Cleveland displayed electric Christmas lights in the White House, increasing public acceptance of the new trend in electric lighting. By the turn of the 20th century, electric Christmas lights were on their way to becoming the integral part of the season that they are today.

Each year, this Christmas tradition is celebrated at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. Join us for our Holiday Nights celebration, or consider indulging in a Holiday Nights Behind the Scenes tour, offered every Tuesday in December (except Christmas day) at 6:00pm. Call (239) 334-7419 for more information or to make reservations.

Edison Ford Director’s Tours 2013 Season

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 17th

Edison Ford Director’s Tours have been a great program success for the past decade. 

      Director’s Tours include our picks of great museums, gardens, historic sites as well as behind the scenes tours with directors, curators and specialists in the field.  Most meals are included and we have carefully selected either private dining at the cultural site or an historic hotel or notable restaurant.  The program costs also include all travel arrangement, and tour fees. Program Fees: non-members $100.  Edison Ford Members & Volunteers will receive a special discounted price of $90. Please R.S.V.P. to Neil Curiel at ncuriel@edisonfordwinterestates.org. I hope you’ll sign up soon to travel with me.

 Chris Pendleton, President & CEO

 Edison & Ford Winter Estates


January 26, 2013 – Miami

 Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens



February 9, 2013 – Sarasota

 The Ringling Museum of Art and Ca d’Zan Mansion

 Marie Selby Botanical Gardens


March 1, 2013 – Historic Clewiston and Lake Okeechobee Birding Tour

 Clewiston Historic Tour and Lake Okeechobee Birding Areas/ STA5 South Florida Water Management District


April 6, 2013—Boca Grande and Gasparilla Island

 Port Boca Grande Lighthouse, Lunch at Gasparilla Inn 

Downtown Shopping in the Historic Village


An Edison Christmas in Fort Myers

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 16th

While the Edison family spent many winters in Fort Myers, only one Christmas was spent here, as the Edisons would typically venture to Florida after the holiday season was complete.

However, in 1929, the Edisons chose to celebrate Christmas at their Fort Myers estate. For the Edison family, Christmas in Fort Myers meant many things. For Mina Edison, it was a chance to give back to her community: she famously led the Fort Myers Round Table in providing meals for the less fortunate.

For Thomas Edison, Christmas was a chance for relaxation. Although he did spend some time in his laboratory, he also took in a film on the day after Christmas.

Want to know more about how the Edison family celebrated Christmas? Join us for a Holiday Nights Behind the Scenes tour, offered every Tuesday in December (except Christmas day) at 6:00pm. Call (239) 334-7419 for more information or to make reservations.

Early Registration Inventor’s Summer Camp 2013

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 15th

     This year, Edison Ford Members may register in December for early sign-up for Inventor’s Summer Camp 2013. Many Members, grandparents and visiting family members have asked for early sign-up to give as holiday gifts, therefore this year, we are ready for registration in December.

      The Inventor’s Summer Camp 2013 brochure has just been mailed to Edison Ford Members. It includes all of the information for registration, the outline of camps during the nine week program and other information.

      For additional information and to talk to the staff of the Education Department, please call the main Edison Ford number at 239-334-7419.

      General registration for Inventor’s Summer Camp 2013 will open to the public on January 1, 2013. Inventor’s Summer Camp has been named as the best in Lee County for several years, so sign up early to be part of our award winning week long camps.


Annual Holiday Nights Children’s Tree Trail

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 15th

For the past ten years, students and teachers from all over Lee County have created the magical “Children’s Tree Trail” at Edison Ford, and has grown every year.

      The “trail” started as the brainchild of CEO Chris Pendleton and artist and  teacher, Karen Flanders. The mission of the project is to engage students in creating a holiday public art project that showcases student art abilities using science and history themes … and lots of lights!

 A record number of 51 trees were placed during the month of November in the Heritage Gardens near the Museum entrance and readied for teachers and volunteers to install the students’ creations. The students and their teachers must follow the theme (Edison and Ford Science) and create original art from found and recycled materials which are able to withstand the outdoor area for a month. Grants for the purchase of art supplies are provided by Edison Ford to the participating teachers.

      Schools participating in the 2012 Children’s Tree Trail include:

 Allen Park Elementary, Alva Middle, Canterbury Intermediate, Cape Coral High, Challenger Middle, Cheers Early Learning Center, Colonial Elementary, Cypress Lake Middle, Diplomat Middle, East Lee County High School, Edgewood Academy, Edison Ford Homeschoolers, Edison Park Creative & Expressive Arts, Estero High, G. Weaver Hipps Elementary, Harns Marsh Elementary, Hector A. Cafferata Jr. Elementary, Island Coast High, J. Colin English Elementary, James Stephens International Academy, Lehigh Elementary, Lehigh Acres Middle, Lehigh Senior High, Lexington Middle, Manatee Elementary, Noonan Academy, Orange River Elementary, Pelican Elementary, Ray Pottorf Elementary, Rayma Page Elementary, Riverdale High, St. Andrews Catholic School, St. Francis Xavier, San Carlos Park Elementary, Skyline Elementary, South Fort Myers High, Tanglewood Elementary, Three Oaks Elementary, Tice Elementary, Tortuga Preserve Elementary, Trafalgar Middle, Treeline Elementary, Tropic Isles Elementary, Varsity Lakes Middle, Veterans Park Academy for the Arts, and Veterans Park Middle

      The Children’s Tree Trail is FREE and open to the public all month and is part of the annual Holiday Nights, December 1 – 30.


Thank You 37th Annual Edison & Ford Holiday Nights Decorating Team

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 14th

Decorating teams began installing the 37th annual Edison & Ford Holiday Nights at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates mid November.

      “Edison Ford Curators have selected very unique decorating teams from throughout the region who bring special skills and interest in recreating old Florida history and the old-fashioned holiday themes that we all treasure,” said Chris Pendleton, Edison Ford president & CEO. “The decorators work to get the perfect look to surprise visitors with something new every year.”  Thank you decorating groups:

 American Institute of Architects – Southwest Florida

Bennett’s Fresh Roast

Cartoon Designs by Doug MacGregor

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Volunteers

Edison Community Neighborhood Association

Thomas A. Edison Congregational Church

Edison Festival of Light

Edison Inventors Association

Florida Power & Light

Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce

General Electric

Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce

Lee County Electric Co-op

Lee County Public Schools

Foundation for Lee County Public Schools

Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau

University of Florida Master Gardeners

 Fort Myers – Lee County Garden Council

Matlacha Chamber of Commerce

McKibbon Hotels

The Nest Home and Garden

Paradies Shops at Southwest Florida International Airport

June Pekol Realty

Prawnbroker Restaurant Group

Royal Palm Yacht Club

Sanibel Captiva Chamber of Commerce

Shell Point Retirement Community

South Fort Myers High School Automotive Academy

Southwest Florida Historical Society

St. James City Volunteers with the Brinson Family

True Tours

WGCU Public Media

 Also thank you to Cardoos Catering, Jordan Webster Catering, Sass Edwards, and Melvin Morgan for providing lunch during decorating days.




Edison Ford Holiday Nights Complimentary Member “Guest” Tickets

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 14th

Members please pickup your complimentary Holiday Nights “GUEST” tickets at the Edison Ford ticket counter by presenting your valid membership card.  Remember Members can enjoy Holiday Nights for FREE, the complimentary tickets are for your guests.  Guests do not need to be accompanied by a member, they just need to turn in  their complimentary ticket at the entrance gate. 

 HAPPY HOLIDAYS from All of Us at Edison Ford!

NEW Edison Ford Gift Card

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 14th

The NEW Edison Ford Gift Card is a great way to give this holiday season. And it’s easy to do.

      It can be used by the recipient for Edison Ford tickets, membership, retail items, summer camp, programs and other activities here at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. We will send the gift card with a holiday card and in a handy folder.

      To find out more, call Darlene Hermey, Membership Coordinator, or stop by the Museum Store or Office anytime.


December Homeschool Classes – Simple Machines

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 14th

Homeschool – Simple Machines

● December 17 or 21, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. (grades 1 – 6)

     Join the Edison Wild Wizard where Homeschool students will see how “things” work with simple machines and their uses in industrial processes. Students and their parents can enroll in a two-hour program with curriculum that follows the Next Generation Florida Sunshine State Standards.

      Registration required. Upon registration pre-visit curriculum materials will be emailed.  Call 239.334.7419 for registration.

Painting in the Edison Gardens with Leoma Lovegrove

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 12th

Join Leoma Lovegrove to discover the excitement of Van Gogh, Monet, Cezanne and others. See why painting outdoors is so inviting and popular. Even your smallest painting becomes a dramatic blast of color in this two-day workshop.

The workshop begins in the Edison Ford Education Center where you will paint and practice the principles of impressionism using acrylics. Participants, than journey into the lush gardens of Thomas Edison, while Leoma personally critiques each artist’s work through the painting process.

This workshop will teach the basic principles of painting trees, landscapes, flowers, pathways,people, and nature with an impressionistic and abstract style. Be prepared to take risks in art and learn to paint looser, brighter, bolder, bigger, freer, and more creative. Lovegrove plans to unlock the artist within you. Lovegrove teaches professionals and beginners side by side so experience is not necessary.

Sign up today! Space is limited. This is Lovegrove’s only class in Southwest Florida.

Painting in the Edison Gardens with Leoma Lovegrove
Two Day Impressionism Workshop
March 12 & 13, 2013 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Cost: Edison Ford Members $230 non members $250

Participants are encouraged to bring a lunch and enjoy eating in the gardens.