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.