Wintering With Tom and Hank

Honey wanted to see the winter homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, who were evidently dear friends. They wintered in Fort Myers, Florida, just down yonder from us. So off we went.

There was also a little museum there to tell us all of the lesser known, interesting tidbits that I so love to glean.

Living in the Detroit area for most of my life, I was well versed in Henry Ford trivia. I have been to The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, and even been on field trips to Henry’s home, Fairlane, a time or two. Plus, Honey works in one of his factories, aptly named, the Ford Motor Co.

BUT, we didn’t know much about his good friend, Tom Edison. I don’t actually know if Hank called him Tom, but it’s a thought, right?

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Here are some of the things that I did NOT know about Mr. Edison:

1. He grew up in Port Huron, Michigan!

2. He only went to school for 3 months before they said his mind wandered too much, and they booted him out. He must have had ADD, they never said this, but I feel like he did. I always like to point things like this out to our children. There are people who have made significant contributions to society, while dealing with a “wandering mind”, as 3 out of 5 members of our household do.

3. He had 6 children from 2 marriages; 2 daughters and 4 sons, but only had grandchildren from from one daughter. I thought that was unusual for the times.

4. I did not know that he spent a goodish amount of time in his later years trying to find a domestic source of natural rubber. I am not sure if he ever did. Because my mind wandered.

5. He was VERY interested in the Banyan tree, which is a fascinating tree.

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They had a HUGE one that had grown all over the place.

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One tree starts many shoots that become trunks over the years. It wouldn’t be a tree to put in a place where it couldn’t spread out. It brings it’s own friends along.

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  The shoots come from the top of the tree, not an underground root system. It’s a baby Banyan shoot!

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Honey, over on the right, is following the Walk of Friendship, or whatever it was called. Mrs. Edison, or Mina as I like to call her, requested that when folks came to visit, they should bring her a stone with their name on it. Some simply had a name, some had a little phrase. Henry Ford gave her a plain black stone with nothing on it. He evidently said, ah, you know who I am Mina. She took all of those stones and made a path. Some are worn smooth now, but we could read many.

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This sweet walkway was between The Edison’s home and their guest house. At first I thought Henry and Co. lived next door, but this guest house was between their houses.

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The garage of Henry Ford. His wife, Clara, had a bathroom built just outside the front door of their house. She didn’t want that messy, multi millionaire getting her house all greasy after puttering in his garage. I can understand that.

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Hi Hank, thanks for the job!

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This was a Mysore Fig tree. Or also known as the Brown Woolly Fig. It had the coolest roots.

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They sort of looked like waves.

Well, that’s it for the Edison/Ford winter home tour. Tomorrow, we are going to the beach!

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8 Comments

  1. Laurie said,

    May 3, 2011 at 7:10 AM

    Lovely photos. And you make history so fun!!!

  2. caprilis said,

    May 3, 2011 at 7:23 AM

    Oh you know how much I love trees so those photos are wondermous!
    But one question…
    WHAT in the heck were you hauling around in that HUMONGOUS bag???

    • caprik said,

      May 3, 2011 at 7:43 AM

      Just my purse and the camera bag. Maybe a water bottle.

  3. Vickie Smoker said,

    May 3, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    I loved the pictures and comments. It brought back memories of our visit to the same estates two years ago. THey are beautiful and fascinating places to visit. GLad you enjoyed them, too.

  4. Cindy Stratton said,

    May 3, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    Kellly – you should have been a teacher!!!

  5. peanuts champ said,

    May 3, 2011 at 9:50 AM

    You are a great teacher. Thanks for the lesson. I am going to try and remember the facts about Edison’s mind wandering to tell a student someday.

  6. Marlene said,

    May 3, 2011 at 4:18 PM

    All veeery interesting. Love the pictures of the Banyan and fig trees.

  7. June 20, 2012 at 6:04 AM

    […] Probably Thomas Edison, he seemed to be a man of many interests. I would tell him that I have been to his summer home in Fort Myers, and that my husband works for his buddy Henry Ford. I wrote about it here. […]


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