Historic Markers Across Florida

Henry Ford's Florida Estate

Marker ID:  
Location: 2350 McGregor Blvd, Fort Myers, FL
County: Lee
Coordinates: N 26° 38.067    W 081° 52.804
  26.63445    -81.88006666
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


Henry Ford's Florida Estate

Thomas Edison and Henry Ford first met in 1896 at a New York conference of the Edison Illuminating Companies. Ford worked as a mechanic at the Detroit Edison plant. The two were not reacquainted again until 1910, when Edison responded to Ford's request for an autographed photo for his new office. Along with the photo, Edison invited the Ford family to his New Jersey home, in 1914.

In 1916 Edison's neighbor, Robert Smith, wrote to Ford relating, “Personally, I would prefer to have you buy it and in this I express the sentiment of the people of Fort Myers. We are all proud to have Mr. Edison spend his winters here and would be just as proud to have Mr. Henry Ford become one of our winter residents."

With the sale completed in July 1916, Killian Melber, a local florist, became Ford's first agent in Fort Myers. Ford purchased the home furnished. As Melber prepared the property for the Fords' visit in 1917, he related to them that all they needed was silverware, bedding, and table linens.

The gardens were well-developed at the time the Fords purchased the estate. They included 100 grapefruit and 50 orange trees, as well as mangoes, paw-paws, lemon, limes, guavas, tangerines, coconuts, and bananas. Smith named the property “The Mangoes" due to the abundance of mango trees.

Ford's Caretaker's Cottage as it appears today evolved from a garage built in the style of the Ford house with accommodations for a good-sized car, a sleeping room for staff, a pump room and a storeroom overhead.

A picture of this marker can be found on HMDB.org


More information:
Edison & Ford Winter Estates
Thomas Edison - Thomas Edison
Wikipedia - Thomas Edison
History.com - Henry Ford
Wikipedia - Henry Ford