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

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Blog

Print a Fish T-Shirt for Dad and Visit on Father’s Day

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On June 4th

What:   Fish Printing Workshop & FREE admission for Fathers
When: Workshop on Saturday, June 19, Noon until 3 PM
            FREE admission for Dad’s on Sunday, June 20, all day 
Where:   Edison & Ford Winter Estates, 2350 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers
Who:  Fathers, Grandfathers, children – bring the entire family

Join guest artists and architects for a Fish Printing Workshop (also known as gyotaku, the Japanese art of fish printing) at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in the Edison Caretaker’s House on June 19 from Noon – 3 PM.    Participating artists include Karen Flanders, City of Fort Myers Councilman and architect Mike Flanders and Parker Mudgett Smith architect Sean Gilmore.   Local real fish will be provided by the Edison Fish Market.

For a one of a kind gift for Dad, participants will create fish print t-shirts or fish prints on other clothing.  The Estates will furnish the fish, paint, and skill for participants to make a lasting keepsake of the day and a great Father’s Day gift 

Both the Edison and Ford families were well known for their love of fishing and fish.  It is not known if they tried gyotaku although the art form has been around for centuries as it was the first method for recording information about fish by printing the fish impression on rice paper. 

The workshop is FREE (a $5 donation is suggested which goes toward Estates Summer Camp scholarships) and participants are encouraged to bring their own shirts or printable fabric.  The Estates will have some t-shirts in limited sizes available for purchase.

On Father’s Day, June 20th,  Dads will be admitted FREE to tour the Estates accompanied with their paid child.    FREE admission for dad’s includes a tour of the newly restored homes, the historical botanical gardens, the Estates Museum and the Edison Research Laboratory.

The Estates is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The Estates is the winner of the 2009 National Stewardship Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is an official project of “Save America’s Treasures” at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a Florida Historic Landmark and a National Register Historic Site. For additional information call 239-334-7419 or visit the web site at www.efwefla.org.

Mother’s Day Sale and Book Signing

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On May 5th

Looking for a perfect gift for a Mother who has everything?  On Saturday, May 8, 11 AM – 3 PM at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates,  artists and authors will personalize artwork and books for one-of-a kind gifts.  Shoppers will receive 10% off all merchandise in the store including orchids, herb baskets, jewelry and special gifts for mom.  Estates members will receive an additional 10% discount.  

Featured ceramic artist and painter Augusta Crane will personalize her artwork featuring handcrafted bowls and sculptures of orchids, hibiscus and other tropical flowers and leaves; and special gift boxes of Norman Love Chocolates will be available just in time for Mother’s Day.

Featured authors include:  John Sheppard, I Can See Clearly Now  and One Man’s Family in Early Fort Myers; Tom Smoot, Jr., The Edisons of Fort Myers; Harry Adams, The Dancing Porch; Doug MacGregor, Get Creative…Turn on the Bright Side of Your Brain; Jane Kirschner, Anna Belle from Sanibel; and Carlene Brennen, Gulf Coast Cookbook.

Dinner & the Movies – at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On March 20th

Black Maria Film Festival 2010

 The Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Edison State College and BIG ARTS, Sanibel Island  will host the Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival in Florida for a fourth season.  The award winning festival will be held on March 26, 2010, 7:30 PM at the Estates; March 27, 2010, 7:30 PM at the Auditorium at the Richard H. Rush Library at Edison State College; and March 29, 2010, 7:00 PM at Schein Performance Hall at BIG ARTS on Sanibel Island. 

The Festival has the added attraction of being shown outdoors in the gardens of the Estates and this year the Estates is kicking off Dinner & the Movies.  Moviegoers can enjoy a meal, as they enjoy the beautiful sunset along the Caloosahatchee River, and watch a series of award winning films and videos.  The entire evening will cost $9.50 for Estates members and $16.50 for non members and includes Dinner & the Movies.

Dinner will be served on the historic grounds of the Ford Estate and include a choice of a pulled pork sandwich, two sides (potato salad, baked beans, coleslaw), soft drink and jumbo cookie for $9.50 per person or a hot dog, soft drink and jumbo cookie for $7.75 per person.  Beer and wine will be available at an additional cost and popcorn is FREE. 

Dinner will begin at 6 PM and reservations are required by calling the Estates at 239-334-7419.  Seating is limited.

Tickets for the Black Maria Film Festival may be bought in advance at the Estates, 2350 McGregor Boulevard; and BIG ARTS, 900 Dunlop Road, Sanibel Island.    The cost is $7 per evening for adults, $5 for students.  Tickets for all three nights can be purchased at a discounted rate of $15.  Estates Members are free on March 26 and Edison State College students are free on March 27.  Seating is limited.  For more information call 239-334-7419 or visit the following websites: Edison & Ford Winter Estates at www.efwefla.org, Edison State College at www.edison.edu/artsedison/events.php BIG ARTS at www.bigarts.org and the Black Maria Film Festival at  www.blackmariafilmfestival.org.

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Programs – March 2010

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On February 25th

March at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates is highlighted with the return of the Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival, a NEW event, Art in Bloom, and the continuation of Sneak Peek Tours as well as a variety of other special programs throughout the month.  The March schedule of programs and events include:

Registration for Edison & Ford Winter Estates Inventor’s Summer Camp, continues through MarchThe Estates Inventor’s Summer Camp is back again this year and the Wild Wizard is here all summer long.  Camp begins on June 7, 2010 and runs through August 20, 2010.  Camps are open for grades 1 – 6 and sessions are separated by grade levels.  Campers will make movies, become science detectives, launch objects into orbit, construct bridges and animate their own short films.  Registration forms are available on line at http://www.efwefla.org/pdfs/summercamp.pdf or are available at the EstatesEstates Members $200; non members $230.  For more information on specific topics, dates and times contact the Estates Education Department at 239-334-7419.

Sneak Peek Tours, Every Thursday, year round,  10:30 AM, NEW, behind-the-scenes tours inside the Edison and Ford homes open to the public and Estates members.  These unique tours are offered at no cost to Estates members and $40 for non members.  In addition, lunch will be served in the historic Edison Caretaker’s House following the tour for $15 per person.  Due to the intimate nature of “Sneak Peek Tours”, space is limited and registration is required. 

Art In Bloom, March 7, 1 PM – 5 PM, An exhibit of art and floral design in collaboration with the Estates and the Fort Myers – Lee County Garden Council.  The exhibit combines art pieces with living arrangements of flowers and plants.  Estates Members FREE, non members $5.

New Volunteer Orientation, March 9, 10 AM, Join Estates staff to learn about volunteer opportunities, Estates policies and general Museum information.  This is a mandatory training for all new Estates volunteers but potential volunteers are welcome. 

Estates Annual Volunteer Recognition Event, March 12, 10 AM, Koreshan State Historic Site, Estates volunteers are invited to attend an afternoon of “utopian” fun.  Event includes a guided tour exploring the unique society of the “Koreshans,” pizza lunch, awards and raffles.  Registration is required.

Docent Training, March 18, 9AM, New Estates volunteers who are interested in becoming Edison & Ford porch docents, Lab and Museum docents, or group tour docents of the Estates grounds must attend this mandatory meeting.

Home School:  “Power & Energy,” March 19, 1 PM – 3 PM, Home schooled students will study the power of different sources of energy that are used in today’s homes and throughout the world. The programs follow the Lee County mandated program and addresses environmental science, history and reading SOLS.  Pre-visit curriculum materials will be mailed to registered families.  Registration is required.  Cost:  Estates Members $5; non-members $15 (one adult, one child), additional $5 per child.

Volunteer Education Workshops, March 25, Times TBA, Two educational workshops available to Estates volunteers include a live presentation of Mina Miller Edison, Living with a Genius  and Mastering Five Essential Presentational Skills with writer, playwright and professional actress, Nan Colton.  Seating is limited and reservations are required. 

Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival, March 26, 7:30 PM, Edison & Ford Winter Estates (Rain date March 28), March 27, 7:30 PM, Edison State College, Fort Myers, March 29, 7 PM, BIG ARTS, Sanibel Island, The award winning Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival will be back for a fourth season in southwest Florida since the Festival began its national tour in 1981.  Festival Board of Directors member and filmmaker, Clayton Hemmert will introduce the films and facilitate discussion afterwards.  There will be more than thirty films shown between the three sites.  Tickets may be bought in advance at the Estates, 2350 McGregor Blvd., and BIG ARTS, 900 Dunlop Road, Sanibel Island.    The cost is $7 per evening for adults, $5 for students.  Tickets for all three nights can be purchased at a discounted rate of $15.  Estates Members are free on March 26 and Edison State College students are free on March 27.  Seating is limited.  For more information call 239-334-7419 or visit the following websites: Edison & Ford Winter Estates at www.efwefla.org, Edison State College at www.edison.edu, BIG Arts at www.bigarts.org and the Black Maria Film Festival at www.blackmariafilmfestival.org.  

Art in the Gardens “Butterflies at the Estates” Exhibit, continues through June 2010, In the heritage gardens at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Lee county students create an environmentally interactive artwork exhibit using recycled materials to make life-like garden art. The exhibit is sponsored by The Foundation of Lee County Public Schools, ArtFest, and Truly Nolen.  The exhibit is FREE to the public.

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Programs – February 2010

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On January 28th

February at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates is highlighted with Thomas Edison’s Birthday Celebration, Estates Antique Car Show, Brunch with Mina Edison and the continuation of Sneak Peek Tours as well as a variety of other special programs throughout the month.  The February schedule of programs and events include:

Registration for Edison & Ford Winter Estates Inventor’s Summer Camp begins

The Estates Inventor’s Summer Camp is back again this year and the Wild Wizard is here all summer long.  Camp begins on June 8, 2010 and runs through August 13, 2010.  Camps are open for grades 1 – 6 and sessions are separated by grade levels.  Campers will make movies, become science detectives, launch objects into orbit, construct bridges and animate their own short films.  Registration forms are available on line at www.efwefla.org or are available at the Estates.  Estates Members $200; non members $230.  For more information on specific topics, dates and times contact the Estates Education Department at 239-334-7419.

Sneak Peek Tours February 4, 11, 18 & 25, 10:30 AM

NEW, behind-the-scenes tours inside the Edison and Ford homes open to the public and Estates members.  These unique tours are offered at no cost to Estates members and $40 for non members.  In addition, lunch will be served inside the Edison Caretaker’s House following the tour for $15 per person.  Due to the intimate nature of “Sneak Peek Tours”, space is limited and registration is required. 

Home Schoolers:  “Movie Making Secrets” February 5, 1 PM – 3 PM

Home schooled students will act, direct, operate a camera and build a set while learning about Edison’s contributions to the movie industry.  The programs follow the Lee County mandated program and addresses environmental science, history and reading SOLS.  Pre-visit curriculum materials will be mailed to registered families.  Registration is required.  Cost:  Estates Members $5; non members $15 (one adult, one child), additional $5 per child.

Antique Car Show  February 6 , 10 AM – 2PM

Nearly 100 antique car collectors will display their antique cars throughout the Ford Estate. Other activities during the day include live music, food available for purchase on the Ford Cottage Terrace, Mr. & Mrs. Ford leading informal tours of the Ford Estate.  Cost is FREE to Estates Members and $5 for non members. 

Antique Car Show Model T Tour and Lecture February 6, 11 AM & 1 PM

Learn the history of Henry Ford and his automobiles first-hand through the Estates collection.  Participants will tour the Ford Estate and meet antique car owners who will provide interesting information specific to their Ford.  Estates Members FREE; non members $5, lecture included in the price of Antique Car Show admission.

Naples Historical Society Presentation February 6, 2 PM, Estates Museum

Elaine Reed and John Mayer of the Naples Historical Society will present “Tales from the Past,” a history of the City of Naples.  They will discuss the pioneers and other colorful characters that put Naples on the map.  Estates Members FREE; non members $12 adults, $6 children ages 6 – 12 and includes admission to the Estates Lab and Museum. 

Etiquette at the Estates February 6, 11 AM – 1 PM, (Children ages 6 -12)

Etiquette at the Estates teaches children proper introduction, handshakes and dining etiquette during a three-course meal.  The classes will be taught by etiquette expert Suzanne Willis who has been teaching similar classes throughout the nation.  Registration is required. Cost:   Estates Members $40; non members $50.

New Volunteer Orientation February 9, 10 AM

Join Estates staff to learn about volunteer opportunities, Estates policies and general Museum information.  This is a mandatory training for all new Estates volunteers but potential volunteers are welcome. 

Edison’s 163rd Birthday Celebration and Book Signing February 11, 10 AM

Celebrate Edison’s birthday at the Estates with the staff, distinguished guests and Edison Park Elementary School students who will perform music from the Edison era.  Performance begins at 10:00 AM with cake to follow. The birthday celebration is FREE to the public.  In addition, Tom Smoot, Jr., author of The Edisons in Fort Myers; John Sheppard, author of One Man’s Family in Early Fort Myers; and Alan S. Maltz, author of Visions of Beauty Fort Myers, Sanibel & Beyond will be available to sign their books throughout the morning in the Estates public Heritage Gardens. 

Brunch with Mrs. Edison “Living with a Genius” February 12 & 13, 11 AM

Storyteller, writer, playwright and professional actress, Nan Colton, will bring to life the remarkable and charitable Mina Edison with unforgettable tales of “Living with a Genius”.  Brunch will be served in the beautiful Estates gardens. Hats are encouraged!  Reservations are required, seating is limited.  Estates Members $50; non members $60.  Group rates available.

Docent Training February 18, 9AM

New Estates volunteers who are interested in becoming Edison & Ford porch docents, Lab and Museum docents, or group tour docents of the Estates grounds must attend this mandatory meeting.

Art in the Gardens “Butterflies at the Estates” Exhibit February 28 – June 2010

In the heritage gardens at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Lee county students create an environmentally interactive artwork exhibit using recycled materials to make life-like garden art. The exhibit is sponsored by The Foundation of Lee County Public Schools, ArtFest, and Truly Nolen.  The exhibit is FREE to the public.

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Programs – January 2010

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On December 22nd

January at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates is highlighted with Sneak Peeks, Rain Barrel Workshop , the annual Estates Tropical Florida Bridal Fair as well as a variety of other special programs throughout the month.  The January schedule of programs and events include:

Edison & Ford Holiday Nights, Through – January 2, 5:30 PM – 9 PM

The Estates holiday tradition continues with “Edison & Ford Holiday Nights,” southwest Florida’s 34 year annual event.  The winter homes of the Edison and Ford families will be seasonally decorated with the “favorite things” of the Edison and Ford families.  The Edison Botanic Lab and Estates Museum will be open every evening with special exhibits as well as nightly holiday performances by area students and groups.  Group rates are available to groups of 20 or more people with advance reservations.  For more information call 239-334-7419. 

Home Schoolers: “Eager Engineers,” January 8, 1 PM – 3 PM

Home schooled students and their parents will be inspired by Henry Ford’s inventions and learn how simple machines become complex machines, as well as the science of building bridges.  The programs follow the Lee County mandated program and addresses environmental science, history and reading SOLS.  Pre-visit curriculum materials will be mailed to registered families.  Registration required. Estates Members $5; non members $15 (one adult, one child) additional $5 per child. 

Etiquette at the Estates:  Mina & Mimi’s Manners, January 9 & February 6, 11 AM

Mina Edison, wife of Thomas Edison, was a gracious hostess and interested in the well being of children and the community.  Following in this tradition, Etiquette at the Estates, includes one day (two hour) lessons in etiquette and social skills.  Children will learn proper introductions, handshakes and dining etiquette during a three course meal.  Class will be taught by Suzanne Willis who has been teaching similar classes at the Ritz-Carlton hotels throughout the nation.  Registration is requires.  Estates Members $40; non members $50. 

Wild Wizard Lab Show, “Eager Engineers,”  January 10, 2 PM

The Estates Wild Wizards present a series of lab experiments exploring some of Mr. Edison’s and Mr. Ford’s illuminating inventions.  Join the Wizards and explore how simple machines become complex machines as well as the science of building bridges.  Fun for all ages.  Estates Members are FREE, non members: $10 adults, $5 children and includes Estates Lab and Museum admission.

New Volunteer Orientation,  January 12, 10 AM

Join Estates staff to learn about volunteer opportunities, Estates policies and general Museum information.  This is a mandatory training for all new Estates volunteers but potential volunteers are welcome.

Sneak Peek Tours for the Public, January 14, 21, & 28, 10:30 AM

This season a NEW behind-the-scenes tour inside the Edison and Ford homes open to the public and Estates members.   These unique tours are offered at no cost to Estates members and $40 for non members.  In addition, lunch will be served riverside by the Ford Estate following the tour for $15 per person.  Due to the intimate nature of “Sneak Peek Tours,” space is limited and registration is required.  To become an Estates member call the Estates Membership office to receive free admission to the Estates and hundreds of museums and gardens throughout the United States, discounts and an inside look into the homes of two of the nations greatest inventors and their families. 

Docent Training, January 21, 9 AM

New Estates volunteers who are interested in becoming Edison & Ford porch, Lab and Museum docents, or group tour docents of the Estates grounds must attend this mandatory meeting.

Rain Barrel Workshop, January 23, 9 AM

Harvesting rainwater by using rain barrels has been around for thousands of years. Thomas Edison used cisterns and water tanks throughout his Fort Myers estate to help irrigate his gardens and to use for drinking water.   Join the Estates Horticulturist, Debbie Hughes and Tom Becker, Florida Yards and Neighborhoods for a unique approach on uses and construction of rain barrels and a tour of the Estates.  In addition southwest Florida artist, Marie Dyer will give a demonstration on painting your rain barrel to create a beautiful addition to your landscape.   Registration is required.  Estates Members $50; non members $55 and includes a rain barrel. 

Estates Tropical Florida Bridal Fair, January 24, 1 PM – 5 PM

The second annual Estates Tropical Florida Bridal Fair will be held on the beautiful grounds of the Ford Estate, southwest Florida’s premier wedding location.  With breathtaking water views, historic gardens and romantic sunsets the Estates is a perfect location for your special day.  Over 40 wedding professionals will be available to assist you as well as a bridal fashion show, dancing demonstrations, catering showcase and much more.  Cost: $5, FREE to brides.  Event is sponsored by Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Creative Events/Taylor Rental, Fort Myers, and Studio Six Eleven.

photo courtesy of Jamie Lee Photography

Coming in February: 

“Brunch with Mrs. Edison:  Living with a Genius,” February 19 & 20, 11 AM

Storyteller, writer, playwright and professional actress, Nan Colton will bring to life the remarkable and charitable Mina Edison with unforgettable tales of “living with a genius.”  Brunch will be served in the beautiful Estates gardens and garden hats are encouraged.  Reservations required, seating is limited.  Estates Members $50; non members $60.  Group rates are available.

The Edison & Ford Winter Estates is offering FREE admission to United States Veterans and their families on November 11, 2009. The Estates is honoring the men, women and their families who have served our country.  Free admission includes a tour of the historic homes, botanical gardens, the Estates Museum, and Edison’s Research Laboratory.  In addition, Veterans will receive a 10% discount on Estates membership and items in the Museum Store. 

Veterans must present a VA identification card or their DD214 papers to receive free admission. Current servicemen and women may also gain free admission by presenting an active military ID. 

The Edison & Ford Winter Estates is recipient of the National Trust for Historic Preservation Stewardship Award, a National Register Historic Site and a Florida Historic Landmark.  The Estates is open daily from 9 AM until 5:30 PM year-round.  The Edison & Ford Winter Estates is a private non-profit organization and receives grants through the State of Florida Department of Historical Resources as well as tourism marketing grant from the Lee County Tourism Commission.  Call 239.334.7419 or check the website at www.efwefla.org.

Edison & Ford Winter Estates Programs – November 2009

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On October 23rd

November at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates is highlighted with the return of the Estates Edison Garden Market and Creative Cottage as well as a variety of other special programs throughout the month of November.  The November schedule of programs and events include:

  • FREE Admission to Veterans and their Families, November 11

The Estates is offering free admission to United States Veterans and their families on November 11th.  Free admission includes a tour of the historic homes, botanical gardens, the Estates Museum and the Edison Research Lab.  Veterans must present a VA identification card or their DD214 papers to receive free admission. 

  • Edison Ford Winter Estates Foundation 9th Annual Foundation Gala, November 6

The Edison & Ford Winter Estates and Sam Galloway, Jr., President of the Edison Ford Winter Estates Foundation are celebrating “Moments in Black & White.”  The Gala features a reception and private dinner on the grounds of the Ford Estate including live entertainment, silent and live auctions featuring items that represent a “piece of the past and treasures of today”.  Limited seating!  For more information contact the Edison Ford Winter Estates Foundation office at 239-274-2377.  The Edison Ford Winter Estates Foundation provides preservation and restoration support to the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Inc.    

  • New Volunteer OrientationNovember 10, 10 AM

Join Estates staff to learn about volunteer opportunities, Estates policies and general Museum information.  This is a mandatory training for all new Estates volunteers but potential volunteers are welcome.

  • Docent Training, November 19, 9 AM

New Estates volunteers who are interested in becoming Edison & Ford porch, Lab and Museum docents, or leading a group tour of the Estates grounds must attend this mandatory meeting.

  • Home School:  “Rocks, Minerals & Thomas Edison,” November 20, 1 PM – 3 PM

 Home schooled students and their parents can enroll in a half day of curriculum that follows the Florida Sunshine objectives for learning.  Home schoolers will learn about minerals and rocks including what Edison did with iron ore and Edison’s own concrete mixture.  The program follows the Lee County mandated program and addresses environmental science, history and reading SOLS.  Pre-visit curriculum materials will be mailed to registered families.  Registration required. Estates members $5; non members $15 (one adult, one child) additional $5 per child. 

  • Estates Closed Thanksgiving Day, November 26, Open Friday, November 27
  • Estates “Creative Cottage” Opens, November 27 – mid January

The seasonal Creative Cottage is back again in the historic Edison Caretaker’s House with a wonderful group of local artists, authors, craftspeople and chefs.  The “Creative Cottage” will be open 10 AM – 5 PM daily until December 11.  During the Estates Holiday event, “Edison & Ford Holiday Nights” hours will be extended to 9 PM.  Estates Members are FREE; a “shoppers pass” may be issued at the main ticket office to visit the “Creative Cottage”. Call 239-334-7419 for additional information. 

creative cottage local art

  • Edison Garden Market, November 27, noon – 5 PM; November 28,  9 AM – 5 PM; November 29, 9 AM – 3 PM

The Edison Garden Market attracts plant vendors from throughout the state to sell unique plants, orchids, herbs, trees and garden merchandise.  The event also includes workshops, food sales, music and other activities.  The Market is a great event for family and friends on Thanksgiving weekend. The event is FREE to the public.

edison garden market

  • Edison & Ford Holiday Nights, Holiday Party, December 10, 6 PM                                               

Kick off the holiday season with the first annual holiday party at the gloriously decorated homes and gardens of the Estates.  Guests will enjoy a special preview of the Estates annual event, food and beverages by the river, live music and much more.  Estates members, $50; non members $60.  To RSVP call 239-334-7419.

  • Edison & Ford Holiday Nights, December 11 – January 2, 5:30 PM – 9 PM

The Estates holiday tradition continues with “Edison & Ford Holiday Nights,” southwest Florida’s 34 year annual event.  The winter homes of the Edison and Ford families will be seasonally decorated with the “favorite things” of the Edison and Ford families.  The Edison Botanic Lab and Estates Museum will be open every evening with special exhibits as well as nightly holiday performances by area students and groups.  Special discount nights available to Lee County Residents opening weekend (December 11 &12).  Group rates are available to groups of 20 or more people with advance reservations.  For more information call 239-334-7419.

October 2009

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On September 24th

October at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates is highlighted with the return of the Estates Clothesline Quilt Show and Airing of the Quilts as well as a variety of other special programs throughout the month of October.  The October schedule of programs and events include:

Estates Fall Volunteer Event, October 8, 2 PM

Yvonne Hill, author of Sanibel Island, Florida (Images of America Series) will be the guest speaker.  After Hill’s discussion, volunteers will tour the inside of the historic homes with Estates Curator, Pam Miner, to view the recent restoration and improvements.  Registration is required by calling 239-334-7419.    

New Volunteer OrientationOctober 13, 10 AM

Join Estates staff to learn about volunteer opportunities, Estates policies and general Museum information.  This is a mandatory training for all new Estates volunteers but potential volunteers are welcome.

Home Schoolers: “Can You Hear Me Now?”  October 16, 1pm – 3pm

The science of communication technology is advancing everyday. Home schoolers will learn about Edison and Ford’s contribution to communication technology from phonograph to iPod.   Curriculum follows the Florida Sunshine objectives for learning.  The program follows the Lee County mandated program and addresses environmental science, history and reading SOLS.  Pre-visit curriculum materials will be mailed to registered families.  Registration required. Estates members $5; non members $15 (one adult, one child) additional $5 per child. 

Docent Training, October 22, 9 AM

New Estates volunteers who are interested in becoming Edison & Ford porch, Lab and Museum docents, or leading a group tour of the Estates grounds must attend this mandatory meeting.

Clothesline Quilt Show and Airing of Quilts, October 31, 10 AM – 2 PM

Clothesline Quilt Show

The Edison & Ford Winter Estates and the Southwest Florida Quilters’ Guild will be “airing their quilts” on clotheslines on the beautiful historic Edison estate.  The tradition of “airing” quilts dates back to Colonial America when women would take quilts out of summer storage and “air” them in autumn for use in winter.  In addition to the contemporary quilts available for show and sale, a variety of antique quilts will be on display, live Edison era music will be performed, and a collection of antique cars will be on display.  Estates Members FREE; non members $5. 

Estates at Downtown Farmers’ Market,   Thursdays, 7 AM – 1 PM

The Estates Garden Shoppe will be participating in the Downtown Farmers’ Market located in the Centennial Park parking lot.  The Estates joins fruit, vegetable, and fresh flower vendors in this 14 year tradition.  The Estates will offer herbs, heritage plants, garden supplies, and garden items available for purchase.  Estates members will receive a 10% discount. 

Mark your calendars: Upcoming Estates Events

•           Edison Garden Market, November 27, 28, & 29

Edison Garden Market

The Edison Garden Market attracts plant vendors from throughout the state to sell unique plants, orchids, herbs, trees and garden merchandise.  The event also includes workshops, food sales, music and other activities.  The Market is a great event for family and friends on Thanksgiving weekend. 

•           Edison & Ford Holiday Nights, Preview Party, December 10, 6 PM                                               

Kick off the holiday season with the first annual holiday party at the gloriously decorated homes and gardens of the Estates.  Guests will enjoy a special preview of the Estates annual event, food and beverages by the river, live music and much more.  Estates members, $50; non members $60.  To RSVP call 239-334-7419.

•           Edison & Ford Holiday Nights, December 11 – January 3, 5:30 PM – 9 PM

The Estates holiday tradition continues with “Edison & Ford Holiday Nights,” southwest Florida’s 34 year annual event.  The winter homes of the Edison and Ford families will be seasonally decorated with the “favorite things” of the Edison and Ford families.  The Edison Botanic Lab and Estates Museum will be open every evening with special exhibits as well as nightly holiday performances by area students and groups.  Special discount nights available to Lee County Residents opening weekend (December 11 &12).  Group rates are available to groups of 20 or more people with advance reservations.  For more information call 239-334-7419.

Estates Celebrates Henry Ford Birthday, July 30 with Free Programs

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On July 20th

Henry & Clara grandson's wedding 1940

The Edison & Ford Winter Estates will celebrate the 146th birthday of Henry Ford and the completion of the restoration of the Ford Estate at “The Mangoes,” the winter home of Henry and Clara Ford, on Thursday, July 30 at 9:30 AM.  Admission to the event is FREE.

The celebration will include a tour of the Ford Estate by Mr. & Mrs. Ford, cake, antique cars, presentations and a performance by the Estates Wild Wizards. 

9:30 AM: Birthday Ceremony Begins at “The Mangoes”

10:00 AM: Behind-the-scenes tour led by Mr. & Mrs. Ford and Estates President & CEO, Chris Pendleton, of the newly restored Ford Home

10:30 AM: Invention, Innovation and Green Science: Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and the Automobile Special preview of the new Estates traveling school presentation in the Estates Museum

11:30 AM: History of Henry Ford and the Impact of the Model T in the Estates Museum      

Antique Cars from individual collectors as well as a new models including the new 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid from Sam Galloway Ford Lincoln Mercury will be on display at the Ford Estate from 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM.

Ford’s birthday marks a very important day in American history, and we invite the public to share in the celebration…. Learn about Henry Ford…. And visit the beautiful winter homes of one of America’s greatest industrialists,” says Chris Pendleton, Estates president & CEO.  “Ford’s remarkable history spanned decades and totally changed our way of life.”

Ford facts include:

•           Henry Ford grew up on a typical nineteenth-century farm in Dearborn, Michigan. At an early age he demonstrated an interest in mechanics and a dislike for farm work.

•           Ford married Clara Bryant in 1888. He would later refer to Clara as “the Believer” for her faith in and support of his ideas.

•           In 1891 Ford became an engineer for the Edison Illuminating Company, and was soon promoted to Chief Engineer. This position allowed him time to experiment with the internal combustion engine. Ford idolized Thomas Edison and met him during an 1896 company convention in New York, where Ford relayed his ideas for the engine. Ford recalled the importance of Edison’s encouragement: “[O]ut of the clear blue sky the greatest inventive genius in the world had given me complete approval.”

•           In 1896, at the age of 33, Ford completed the Quadricycle, a self-propelled vehicle with four wire wheels which was steered with a tiller and had two forward speeds. Ford traveled around Detroit in his “horseless carriage,” to the amazement, as well as disdain, of its citizens.

•           The Ford Motor Company was incorporated in 1903 with the Model A. In 1908 Ford introduced the Model T, realizing his lifelong dream of a vehicle that was easy to operate and maintain and able to handle the rough roads of the era. The Model T quickly became a huge success, with more than 10,000 sold in 1909.

•           Ford is considered the father of modern manufacturing. As the popularity of the Model T escalated, Ford devised a system that combined division of labor, standardized and interchangeable parts, and the assembly line. This revolutionized automobile production by reducing the amount of time involved in automobile manufacturing and consequently lowering production costs. Mass production was born. By 1913 some 1000 cars were produced in a typical eight-hour shift.

•           By the late teens, Ford was an American celebrity and the public could not seem to get enough of him. Ford came into his office one day and said, “You know, I think I ought to get a pair of whiskers. Everybody seems to spot me.”

•           In 1914 Ford made his first visit to Fort Myers at the invitation of his friend Thomas Edison. From there the two embarked on an Everglades camping trip. Calling themselves “the Vagabonds,” Ford and Edison, along with Harvey Firestone and John Burroughs, would make many more camping trips throughout the next fifteen years. In 1916, Ford purchased his Fort Myers retreat, The Mangoes, for $20,000 and enlarged it by adding two family and staff wings.

•           Ford was seriously interested in unifying urban and rural industry. He encouraged the idea of using agricultural products for industrial purposes. For example, Ford experimented with an automobile trunk made from soybean-based plastic. He was a partner in the Edison Botanical Research Lab located on Estates’ property in Fort Myers, FL.

•           In the mid-1920s the New York Times estimated the assets of the Ford Motor Company at $1.2 billion, or about $13 billion today. Ford himself drew an average of about $4.5 million per year during this decade, or about $50 million in today’s dollars. Said Ford, “I’m in a peculiar position. There is nothing I want that I cannot have. But I do not want the things that money can buy. I want to live a life, to make the world a little better for having lived in it.”

•           In 1928 Ford established and endowed The Edison Institute in Dearborn, MI (now The Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village), an indoor/outdoor museum created to illustrate and preserve the American experience and celebrate American ingenuity.

•           In 1929 Ford threw a lavish party in Dearborn in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Edison’s invention of the incandescent lamp. Ford presented his friend with a detailed reconstruction of Edison’s Menlo Park and the original 1887 Fort Myers laboratory at The Edison Institute. Edison became misty-eyed and remarked that “the memories of eighty-two years were flooding back.” Ford told reporters at the event, “We are ahead of all other countries today, simply and solely because we have Mr. Edison.”

•           Ford loved dancing and in the 1920s began a massive effort to revive old-fashioned dancing. He sponsored a national tour of dancing master Benjamin Lovett. Dancing was also an important part of Ford’s social life in Fort Myers.

•           Henry Ford earned the American Legion Distinguished Service Medal for his efforts on behalf of disabled veterans in both World Wars. In 1997, Life Magazine named him one of the “100 People Who Made the Millennium,” and in 2000 Time Magazine named him one of the “100 Most Important People of the Century.” In 2000 Forbes Magazine called him the “#1 Industrialist of the Century.”

•           Ford returned to The Mangoes only sporadically after Thomas Edison’s death in 1931. In 1945 he sold it to Thomas and Gladys Biggar. In 1988, the City of Fort Myers purchased Henry Ford’s estate for $1.5 million, restored it to its historic appearance and opened it to the public in 1989.

•           Henry Ford’s Fort Myers estate is open daily and now managed by the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Inc., a non-profit organization.

•           On July 30, 2007 a statue commemorating Henry Ford’s achievements and time in Fort Myers was created by D. J. Wilkins and donated by Orvall McCleary to the Estates.