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Edison, Ford exhibit at Historical Museum

By Staff | Feb 23, 2013

The Cape Coral Historical Museum has a new exhibit on loan from the Fort Myers Edison and Ford Winter Estates.

“Discovering Southwest Florida with Thomas Edison and Henry Ford” will open on Sunday and continue through the end of March.

The exhibit will feature historic photographs of both men enjoying their favorite pastimes, as well as contemporary photographs and artifacts from the Edison/Ford collection.

“We hope this will bring a lot of people to their museum and ours as well,” said Anne Cull, the museum curator.

The exhibit tells the tale of what made Edison make Lee County the place he wanted to spend his winters, as well as the things he did while down here.

“We hope to teach people about Edison coming here a century ago. He picked Southwest Florida because it was a marvelous place to live,” Cull said. “He showed a great example to us.”

Cull said the exhibit provides a snapshot of the way life was a century ago when Edison and Ford lived here, as compared to now, with before and after photos.

Obviously, things were a lot different back then.

“Life was much simpler then. They didn’t have air conditioning and the mosquito problem was big in those days,” Cull said. “The Ford Motor car was just into being, and it was a much quieter time. In the pictures you can see how simple it was and how Edison loved the countryside.”

Edison, Ford and their families had neighboring riverside estates on the Calossahatchee in Fort Myers, as well as a botanical laboratory and research gardens from 1885 through the 1930s.

During their winter vacations, they would work on important projects while exploring Florida’s beaches, waterways, fishing and hunting with their families and friends.

Pictures of this and much more give viewers an idea of the kind of people they were.

“They were very interesting people. They contributed so much to our country,” Cull said. “It was a great era.”

The museum is open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. and is at 544 Cultural Park Blvd.

For more information, contact the museum at 772-7037.