A non-profit corporation, the Thomas Edison & Henry Ford Winter Estates, Inc. governs Edison & Ford Winter Estates and operates dba Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Inc. The corporation governs and manages both estates for the City of Fort Myers which owns the historic property.
The Mission of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates is to advance the legacies of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford by interpreting their innovations through a lens of Florida history, science, current and future technologies, and the arts, and by preserving their homes, gardens laboratory and artifacts
The corporation is designated as a 501(c) (3) non-profit charitable educational organization. It is also listed on the National Historic Register, Historic Florida Landmark and an original Save America’s Treasures of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and National Chemical Landmark.
Board of Trustees and Executive Committee
Steve Niehaus, Chair
John Cauthen, Vice Chair
Lee Golden, Treasurer
Karen Ryan, Secretary
Frank Aloia, Jr., L.D. Bochette, Sidney Ann Brinson, Kathy Dean, Colleen DePasquale, Jeanne Dozier, Suzanne Edwards, Karen Flanders, Eric Graff, Craig McLean, Melvin Morgan, Renee Norris, Wiley Parker, Cole Peacock, Madeleine Plummer, Brett Sands, Margaret Sirianni
Chris Pendleton, President & CEO
80 Paid Professional Staff; 275 Volunteers
$6 million from earned revenues, grants, and contributions
Capital & Restoration
Recently completed projects of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Inc. include: $14 million in capital restoration through grants from the City of Fort Myers, Lee County, State of Florida, HUD, and private sources, such as private, corporate grants and donations. Another $2.2 million in site improvements has been internally generated from operations.
Through Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Inc.
Master plan being implemented in stages.
Hours of Operation
Open year-round (except Thanksgiving and Christmas Days)
7 days a week 9:00am - 5:30pm
December - open until 9:00pm
Other times for special programs and rentals are available
Museum Store, Garden Shoppe, Cottage Shoppe, Edison Ford at Bell Tower Shops
260,000 visitors onsite and one of the nation’s 10 most visited historic homes. Offsite education program reaches 20,000 annually.
Tours conducted daily of the historic site include the homes, museum, laboratory and gardens. A variety of specialty tours are available including Behind The Scenes, Ask the Curator and Inside the Lab.Group tours and rental reservations are available.
Edison Ford Membership includes free admission and discounts to the Edison Ford as well as to hundreds of other museums, gardens, and botanical sites. Currently 10,000 people, which translates to 3,000 Memberships, including businesses.
The Edison Estate was deeded to the City of Fort Myers by Mrs. Thomas (Mina) Edison in 1947 and opened to the public later that year. The Ford Estate was purchased by the City in 1988 and opened to the public in 1990. Owned by the City of Fort Myers Edison Ford is operated by the non-profit, Edison & Ford Winter Estates which holds a 99 year lease.
Awards & Recognitions
National Trust for Historic Preservation, Trustee Emeritus Award for Excellence in the Stewardship of Historic Sites; National Historic Chemical Landmark; National Register of Historic Places; Save America’s Treasures, Restore America; Florida Historic Landmark; Florida Trust for Historic Preservation Award; Lee Building Industry Association Summit Award for Excellence; Award of Merit, Florida Society of Architects, Florida Division; Society of American Travel Writers, Phoenix Award; Florida Tourism Hall of Fame, Thomas & Mina Edison, Florida Commission on Tourism-Visit Florida; Angel of the Arts, Business Arts Sponsor of the Year; Lee Art Education Association Award of Honor; Junonia Award, Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau; Chrysalis Awards, Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau; Award of Excellence, National Garden Clubs Inc.; American Bus Association Top 100 Events in the Nation, Edison & Ford Holiday Nights; Best Commercial Contractor Project in Historic Restoration of the Edison Botanic Laboratory from Lee Building Industry Association; Great Floridian Award, State of Florida, Thomas Edison; State of Florida AIA, Top 100 Buildings; Southeastern Tourism Society, Top 20 Events, Edison & Ford Holiday Nights
Historic Buildings, Gardens & Grounds
Nine National Register Historic buildings as well as the botanical and research gardens. The historic research and contemporary gardens consist of approximately 20 acres of lush tropical botanical gardens, 500 unique plants, flowers and trees, including 4 champion trees, federal C.I.T.E.S. orchid program and propagation greenhouse and nursery. Edison Ford is ADA accessible and wheelchairs are available. Parking for 400 vehicles and buses. Food service, picnic areas available, as well as adjacent restaurant.
15,000 sq. ft. museum and hundreds of Edison and Ford inventions, history, collections, objects, video theaters, and changing exhibitions.
Events & Programs
Holidays Nights, Gala Fundraising Event, Thomas Edison’s Birthday, Henry Ford’s Birthday, Film Festival, Antique Car Shows, Garden Festivals, Garden Teas, Lectures, Book Signings, Art Shows, Director’s Tours, Wild Wizard Shows, and Plant Sales.
Education & Programs
Annual Summer Inventors Camp program for grades 1 - 8. Year-round educational classes for children and adults, Year-round school programs; such as home school group tours, adult tours and other activities, school outreach, college, university internships, projects, etc.
A non-profit corporation, the Thomas Edison & Henry Ford Winter Estates, Inc. governs Edison & Ford Winter Estates, d/b/a Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Inc. The corporation governs and manages both estates for the City of Fort Myers which owns the historic property.
The Mission of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates is to provide unique educational experiences based on the artifacts, legacy and lives of Thomas Edison & Henry Ford with emphasis on their Florida history. The purpose is to inspire the public to learn from these experiences. As such, the mission includes the preservation and interpretation of their homes, gardens, laboratory and related objects and artifacts.
The corporation is designated as a 501(c) (3) non-profit charitable educational organization. It is also listed on the National Historic Register, Historic Florida Landmark and an original Save America’s Treasures of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.