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

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Archive for August, 2016

Looking Back – the Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 30, 2016
Photo by Ilene Safron - Mainsail Productions

Photo by Ilene Safron – Mainsail Productions

As Edison Ford begins to celebrate our tenth year anniversary as a non-profit organization, we are meeting with former trustees to record oral history, photographs and information about the Edison Estate and the Ford Estate through the decades. It is a very, very interesting project.

In fact, just a few weeks ago, we had the honor of meeting with our former board member, Walter Sheppard, age 96, who was on the Advisory Board of the Edison Home from 1951 to 1962, serving as Chairman of the Board in 1959 and 1960. Walter was also a Florida Legislator from 1952 to 1960, a prominent Fort Myers attorney, a pilot during wartime and afterwards, and a great raconteur of stories and lore about our site and Fort Myers. One of my favorite stories involves a stick, a bicycle, the Edison picket fence, and Thomas Edison. Walter has helped us “fill in the blanks” about the activity during his tenure on the board and about other board members. Thanks Walter!

In the months ahead, we will also work with Mainsail Productions and our curatorial staff to interview other board members and trustees including longtime board member, Tom Smoot. In another related project, current trustee Madeleine Plummer and her committee have been working with the minutes of the Edison Home and Edison Ford from 1947 – current day to track our progress over the years. We thank Fort Myers City Clerk Marie Adams for helping us to find these critical minutes and other documents.

If you can help by providing photographs and other leads, contact Chief Curator Mike Cosden at 239-334-7419.

Our plan is to collect all of these histories and show them at the Incandescent Evening Gala on April 22, 2017. If you can help us track down other former leaders of Edison Ford or can volunteer yourself, contact Nancy Achter in my office at 239-335-3678.

walter sheppard pics

Visiting Phonograph Expert to Present at the Edison Ford Museum

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 28, 2016
  • john kurdyla aug 2016Tuesdays and Fridays through September 2

        Phonograph expert and guest curator John Kurdyla will present special programs on the phonograph. A resident of Padua, Italy, Mr. Kurdyla’s expertise and engaging demonstrations have been a favorite of Edison Ford visitors for several years.

Edison Ford curators will also demonstrate the Edison Ediphone business machines, record “dictation,” and listen to old recordings.

These special presentations will be given on Tuesdays and Fridays at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. in the “Music & Movies” gallery of the museum. FREE with admission.

Antique China and Fine Linens Donated to Edison Ford

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 27, 2016

june pekol and chris     June Pekol, Proprietor and Director of June Pekol Realty, Inc., graciously donated her family’s antique china and fine linens to Edison Ford on June 23, 2016.

Over the last several years she has been instrumental in renovating the Fort Myers Country Club and developing the Edison Restaurant & Banquet Facility into one of the areas top establishments. She has always been an avid supporter of Edison Ford and during the past several years has assisted Edison Ford staff in decorating the Edison Home for the holiday season.

June’s donation includes 286 individual pieces with many of the items dating from the 1930 and 1940s. Portions of the collection will be on display during Edison Ford Holiday Nights in December.

Those interested in donating an item to the Edison & Ford Winter Estates should access our Donate an Item page or contact our Museum Office at 239-334-7419.

Holiday Parties and Other Gatherings – Plan NOW!

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 25, 2016

The Edison Ford River Pavilion will be completed in October 2016 and ready to host a variety of activities during the day and evening.

The River Pavilion is a covered 30×40 foot outdoor room with a hard surface floor, great electrical hook-up, and access to convenient parking. The River Pavilion can also be used with programs at Edison Ford like casual touring, private teas, luncheons and dinners, tours Inside-the-Homes, garden talks and tours and an endless number of classes and specialty programs. Adjacent to The Marina at Edison Ford and reachable on the coconut grove path, it offers great add-ons like restaurant dining, and guided river cruises.

The Annual Member Celebration on November 13, 2016 will be held at the River Pavilion. And, we also have some local businesses and clubs renting it for Holiday Nights Parties and other parties and meetings. But also think of family anniversary parties, birthday parties, scout meetings, and club lectures.

Edison Ford will use it for the same functions including live music, beverages and light foods at sunset several times a month. We will call it Rhythm on the River at Edison Ford.

For additional information, contact Cori Cramsey at Edison Ford who is managing its use in addition to rentals, weddings and special activities throughout the Edison Ford site. Cori can be reached at ccramsey@edisonfordwinterestates.org or 239-334-7419. Cori works flexible hours, so it is best to arrange a face-to-face meeting and tour in advance.

river pavilion events staff

A Message to Edison Ford Members

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 23, 2016

membership card     We value you as Members of Edison Ford and want to ensure that you continue to receive the latest news about upcoming events and all the wonderful changes happening at Edison Ford!

If you have a change of address or have gone back north for the summer, please take a moment to call the Membership Department at 239-334-7419 or email us at dhermey@edisonfordwinterestates.org so that we can update your membership record.

You can still receive the monthly newsletter, but at your correct postal address or better yet, your email address.

2016 – 2017 Director Tours

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 21, 2016

One of our favorite programs at Edison Ford is our season of tours to a select group of cities with some very unique museums, gardens and historical sties. For the 2016 – 2017 season we have a very exciting list of destinations! This is a great way to learn about Florida history, science and culture firsthand as we often provide insider and behind the scenes experiences through our staff and colleagues at the sites we visit.

Cost for each trip: Edison Ford Members $105; non-members or the general public $125. To sign up or for more information, please contact Nancy Achter at 239-334-7419 or email at nachter@edisonfordwinterestates.org.

  • November 12, 2016 – Fairchild Botanical Garden and Vizcaya Museum & Gardens – Coral Gables and Miami area

Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone worked closely with David Fairchild, who created the first international seed bank in Miami. Much of their collaboration was focused on finding a source of organic rubber which could be grown in the U.S.A. Today Fairchild’s research gardens are known as Fairchild Botanic Garden and encompasses 80 acres of unusual tropical plantings. This day is also the day they celebrate their Fall Garden Festival which features The “Ramble”, South Florida’s largest event for gardeners and festival-goers. We will experience all that fall has to offer in South Florida with seasonal cooking classes, home gardening demonstrations, autumn beer garden and seasonal vignettes, all mixed with Ramble traditions like: art, antiques, rare books, garden vendors and one of the largest plant sales around. After enjoying the Ramble and lunch at Fairchild, we will visit Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.

Vizcaya is the former villa and estate of businessman James Deering, of the Deering McCormick-International Harvester fortune. The early 20th century estates includes extensive Italian Renaissance gardens. Vizcaya is described as the “finest private house ever built in America.” A true jewel among Miami’s skyscrapers and subdivisions.

director's tour november 2016 fairchild and vizcaya

  • December 10, 2016 – Henry Flagler Museum and Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens – Palm Beach (This will be an afternoon – evening tour.)

This tour will begin in the afternoon for a tour at the famous Henry Flagler Estate. Whitehall, the home of the Flagler Museum was built in 1902 for Henry Flagler, Cofounder of Standard Oil and his third wife Mary Lily Kenan. The mansion is built around a large open-air courtyard and has 75 rooms modeled after palaces in Spain and Italy.

The Festival of Trees at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens is a premier holiday event. This year’s theme Celebrating Design through the Decades will illuminate the importance of design throughout history and the context of the culture and temperament of the times. Each evening there will be choral, instrumental, dancing and theatrical performances offered with a dazzling light music show.

director's tour december 2016 flagler and ann norton sculpture gardens palm beach

  • January 2017 (Date TBA) – Everglades Museum, Historic Rod & Gun Club, Ted Smallwood Store and Private Airboat Ride with Captain Mitch – Everglades City

This tour will begin with a private guided walking tour of Everglades City. We will then visit the Historic Rod & Gun Club which is a living monument to the Gilded Age. It was built in 1864 by the founder of Everglades City. Walking into this club is like entering a time-warp, and was the playground for some of the world’s most wealthy people back in the day. director's tours jan and feb 2017 everglades and miami homesteadWe will also visit the Smallwood Store which served as a trading post to purchase goods such as produce, hides and furs. After we have lunch at Camellias, a casual beach shack known for its fried seafood, we will venture out for a private airboat tour with Captain Mitch. Mitch is part of the oldest family in the industry in Southwest Florida and has been in the business since he was knee-high to a bullfrog.

  • February 2017 (Date TBA) –  Miami, Montgomery Botanical Garden and Homestead Nurseries (orchids, fruit trees)

Montgomery Botanical Garden is a nonprofit botanic garden that was established in 1959 and keeps living specimens from wild plant populations worldwide. Colonel Robert H. Montgomery was not only a lawyer and accountant but an avid plant lover. He also founded Fairchild Gardens. Upon Robert’s death in 1953, his wife Eleanor “Nell” wanted to continue her late husband’s love of plants so she provided a site for research investigations on the collections. A private educational tour will be provided of this 120 acre collection, which has the largest and finest private collection of palms and cycads in the world. The tropical plant collections are extraordinary in their scientific, educational and conservation value.

We will also visit local nurseries so you may purchase tropical plants, and other items  for your personal garden.

  • March 2017 (Date TBA) – Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and Historic Spanish Point – Sarasota

On the shores of beautiful Sarasota Bay, Selby Gardens is a tropical oasis with something that everyone will enjoy. In addition to a tour by an experienced docent our own  horticulturist, Debbie Hughes will also provide educational information about this beautiful tropical garden. director's tours march and may 2017 selby and ringlingNext we will head south to Historic Spanish Point where we will enjoy this 30 acre outdoor museum. While Spanish Point is a complex museum there are four main elements to the overall story. They refer to them as the 4 “P’s” of Historic Spanish Point, Prehistory, Pioneers, Palmer and Plants. Spanish Point also has one of the largest Butterfly gardens in Florida.

  • May (Date TBA) – John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art – Sarasota

We will visit the John Ringling Museum of Art, filled with one of the early 20th century’s most prolific collectors or art. We will also tour the famous home of John and Mable, known as the Ca’ d’Zan which was inspired by the Ringling’s 25 years of travelling in Europe acquiring circus acts and art. Other highlights of the trip will include the Circus Museum, special exhibits, rose garden and the grounds of one of the wealthiest couples in America, at the time.

Edison Ford River Pavilion Progress

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 19, 2016

As you can see from the photographs, the construction of the replica of Edison’s original river pavilion is progressing beautifully.

The project is being overseen by Parker/Mudgett/Smith Architects and our Trustee and Architect Wiley Parker, now retired from Parker/Mudgett/Smith. It combines the wonderful original historical look of the building when it sat on stilts way out in the river with contemporary code decisions and  materials. The work is visible through the work fence, so come and watch as this progresses.

As we know now, the Coconut Grove was a fill area that was created by the City of Fort Myers in the 1950’s to protect the historic estate of Thomas and Mina Edison from tides and storms from the Caloosahatchee River. We have continued to maintain the 1950’s rock seawall and have also beautifully managed a wonderful collection of coconut palms, oaks and bamboo (with plumeria peeking through). It is adjacent to the beautiful rock pond and the historic swimming pool, so the entire landscape is a great incorporation of old and new.

Beginning in the fall, there will be regular events at sunset for music, dancing and watching the sun as it plunges into the river. Pinchers Restaurant is working with us to assemble a great group of different musicians for visitors to enjoy and will also provide beverages and light food to kick off the evening.

river pavilion aug 2016

August Great Book Picks in all our Edison Ford Stores

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 17, 2016

1001 Things to Spot in the Sea – by Katie Daynes.

This excellently illustrated book will fascinate young children who love the sea and its inhabitants. Each two-page illustration depicts a different ecosystem with certain species that children can identify and count. A great way to get kids interested in ocean or marine biology. Recommended for ages 8 and up.

Legendary Locals of Fort Myers – by Gerri Reaves.

This book offers an excellent view into Fort Myers’ past by providing brief biographies on many of the individuals who made a memorable impact on the community.

Reaves, a local historian, uses images from historical archives, family collections, and her own contemporary photographs to weave together the story of Fort Myers as told through the lives of its most influential citizens. Readers will delight in learning about some of the unique people who added such character to the area.

Images of Motoring: Ford Dynasty a Photographic History – by Michael W.R. Davis and James K. Wagner.

Using over 200 photographs directly from the Ford Motor Company archives and other personal collections, this book provides an intimate look into the lives of the Ford family and their impact on the automotive world. Some of these never-before-seen photos are truly worth a 1,000 words and will fascinate both the casual reader and the “Ford buff” out there.

These books are available for purchase in our Museum Store or in our online store.

Remember Edison Ford Members always receive a 10% discount in all of our retail shops and at the Edison Ford Shoppe at Bell Tower Shops.

august 2016 great book picks

Lightning Protection System Now Live at Edison Ford

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 15, 2016

thorguard logo     A state of the art ThorGuard lightning protection system is now operational at Edison Ford.

The technology in use is able to detect positive energy and set off an alarm before a lightning strike takes place, making our site safer for visitors and staff alike. This will supplement our existing lightning rods and well-trained security staff.

When lightning is detected, the system produces a 15 second long blast that is audible throughout the site. Once the danger has passed, a series of short blasts indicate the site is safe to re-open. Staff are able to check the current weather conditions at any time using a computer or mobile device.

The system has been fully tested and is enthusiastically supported by the neighboring community of Edison Park.

Petting Zoo at Edison Ford

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On August 14, 2016
  • August 28, September 25, October 30 – 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

petting zoo girl with goat        We have moved the Petting Zoo to the Banyan Tree and Café area for shade from the trees, seating, and refreshments. There will be a ticket required which can be purchased at the Main Ticket Office.  You can park in the main parking lot off of McGregor Boulevard or the new parking areas on Larchmont Avenue. Cost: Adults free; Children entering the Petting Zoo gate will be $1.00 per child.

Call Leeanne Criswell, Edison Ford Program Registrar for more information at 239-334-7419.