Day 6 Edison and Ford


Day Six was spent largely in Ft. Myers where we visited the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. I've been thinking for a while now about how to tackle these houses and talking about this two men because I have such an ardent antipathy for one, and a creeping dislike of the other.

Okay, my opinions out of the way, you might better be able to understand my ambivalence at visiting these homes. Both are interesting figures and "great" men and I'm interested in seeing the furnishings and appurtenances of historic homes.

When you visit the winter estates, you pull into a parking lot that is in front of a banyan tree. This tree was a gift of Harvey Firestone. When planted it was two inches around and about four feet high. Presently it has a cricumference of 400 feet and covers about an acre. Now, this number is a little deceptive. A Banyan tree is a kind of Ficus or fig tree. In its native India it is called a "Walking Tree." Aerial Roots drop down from high braches and form new trunks so you have a collection of interlaced trunks and branches all forming one tree. It is one of nature's most astounding and miraculous trees. And this complex forms the entry to the museum and grounds.

We bought a ticket for the works and viewed the Estate and took a really nice boat ride on the Caloosahatchee River to view the estates from the river. At first I missed them, and when we toured the estate, I figured out why.

In reality, these "estates" are very simple, very plain, very ordinary American Houses of their time. There is nothing whatsoever "estate-like" about them. They are about the size of an ordinary tract house amid gorgeous grounds, On the grounds I found at least four species of orchids. There were supposed to be some Dendrodium but I suspect they were not in bloom, Instead there were three species of Cattleya and one species of Endrobium (I think). Also on the grounds were several more Ficus of different species an Africa "Sausage Tree" and and absolutely gorgeous Frangipani. In short, the kinds of things I would very much like to have in my yard if I thought they would continue to grow.

Anyhow, you can see that I wasn't overwhelmed by the houses, but the grounds were truly magnificent and the whole experience is well worth undertaking.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on July 8, 2005 2:58 PM.

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Day 7 Ca D'zan--The Ringling Summer Home is the next entry in this blog.

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