Monday, July 12, 2010

Henry Ford's Winter Home

After viewing Thomas Edison's home and guest home(see yesterday's post) we were guided through a small garage that housed two old fords, a Model T and a Model A Ford. Right next to the garage was Henry Ford's winter home named 'The Mangoes'.
This Craftsman Bungalow is 3000 sq. ft. and Henry Ford purchased it in 1916 for $20,000. The furniture is not the original furniture, which was sold in the 1940's at an auction. In 1945 the house was sold to the Biggar Family for $20,000(the same price that Henry paid for it in 1916). The city of Fort Myers did not acquire the property until 1988. The Biggar family sold it to the city of Fort Myers for $1.2 million. The furniture has been staged from pictures and are period antiques and collectibles representative of the original furniture which was purchased in 1990 by the Foundation. The only original piece that belonged to the Ford family is the Grandmother Clock in the living room which was given back to the home in 1990. Below is the guest room and the bathroom on the main level.

The Wedgewood china on the dining room table is a set of Clara Ford's favorite pattern named Columbia. The Wedgewood Company made this set in 1990 especially for 'The Mangoes'.

Notice the window benches flanking the living room fireplace. They provided a place to sit when all the other furniture was removed from the room to open a space for square-dancing.

The picture below is the guest bedroom on the main floor south wing, with a private bath. Upstairs were two more bedrooms, a bathroom, a dressing room, office, and a sleeping porch. The north wing has 2 servants rooms and 1 bath. The main floor center housed the living room, dining room, butler's pantry, kitchen and pantry.

The only original piece of furniture that is in Ford's house is the 'grandmother' clock. The grandmother clock is said to be called that instead of the grandfather clock because it is shorter, thinner and never wrong, a joke the tour guide told. The clock is set to the time that Henry Ford died, which was a tradition for many Irish families back then.

The Model T and the Model A Fords

My grandson enjoyed checking out the old cars and hearing the stories that the guide was telling. One of the funny stories that the tour guide told was that one day Henry and Thomas were out and came upon a man on the side of the road whose car had broken down. Henry, who was an accomplished mechanic and still loved to tinker on cars stopped and offered his assistance to the man. He worked on the car until it was repaired. The man was very grateful for the help but did not know who had just repaired his car and offered to pay him for his troubles. Henry refused the man's money, stating he was rich and didnot need the money the man was insisting he take. Still trying to pay Henry for his help, the man remarked, 'if you are so rich, then why are you driving a Ford?" Talk about an embarassing moment.


  1. Thanks for another great tour. So very interesting! That was a funny story about Mr Ford and Mr Edison.

  2. that's great Nancy! Great pictures and funny story!


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