Century-old landmark survives Hurricane Ian

Winter homes of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford still standing

Despite sitting next to the Caloosahatchee, the Edison & Ford Winter Estates are still standing.

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Hurricane Ian’s impact remains evident throughout southwest Florida, especially in the Fort Myers area.

In downtown Fort Myers, large boats were tossed around like toys after their marina was inundated with several feet of storm surge.

But further south down the Caloosahatchee River, a bright spot shines: one of Fort Myers’ most well-known and most-visited landmarks remains standing.

Thomas Edison and Henry Ford’s winter estates, despite being located right on the river, are in good shape, all things considered.

“I do think it’s a miracle, but I also think that Thomas Edison must have built these houses very well,” Lisa Wilson, a spokesperson for the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, said Monday. “Thomas Edison actually built the main house and the guest house in 1886, so they’ve been through many storms. I would say this is probably the worst one.”

Ford’s estate was completed in 1911.

Elsewhere in Lee County, search and rescue efforts continued.

Local 10 News rode with members of Florida Task Force 2 on Sunday, comprised mainly of first responders from the Miami area.

“Our goal initially is in the first 48 hours, to touch as many residents as we possibly can,” Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Joseph Zahralban said. “We want to do the greatest amount of good in the shortest period of time.”

In Fort Myers Beach, the storm washed out several structures and part of the road.

“Whether we’re talking about search and rescue or search and recovery, that doesn’t slow us down,” Zahralban said. “We’re going to continue to work as hard as possible to get everybody, to make sure everybody is accounted for.”

Back in Fort Myers, drivers remained desperate to find gas, still filling up at a mangled Mobil station.

Its awning came feet away from touching the ground.

“There’s more gas stations open, but the lines are longer, so that’s why I came here,” Fort Myers resident Zuleida Navarro said.

Roughly 400,000 Florida Power & Light customers remained without power Monday.

About the Authors:

Trent Kelly is an award-winning multimedia journalist who joined the Local 10 News team in June 2018. Trent is no stranger to Florida. Born in Tampa, he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he graduated with honors from the UF College of Journalism and Communications.

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.