Uncommon Friends
Edison, Ford and Firestone

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'Uncommon Friends
Edison, Ford and Firestone
Fathers of the American Industrial 20th Century

 

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 The plaque reads,

'Uncommon Friends Edison, Ford and Firestone, fathers of the American  Industrial 20th century'.

At the dedication of 'Henry Ford' the portrait bust at the entrance to the Henry Ford winter home.  Mayor Art Hamel of Fort Myers asks the sculptor D.J. Wilkins to 'make something for our new Centennial Park'.

After one year of consultation and research, including many conversations with James  Newton, a close personal friend of Edison, Ford and Firestone, The design was presented to Fort Myers Beautification Committee.  With their recommendation, the City Council agreed to have the sculptor create his 'Uncommon Friends' as the centerpiece of the new riverfront park, which marked the first 100 years of the City.

The fountain includes a 40-foot diameter pool with a 20-foot island. On the island are the over life size figures of Edison, Ford and Firestone in a camping scene.

In the water around the island are life size figures of alligators (mother and 5 babies), a mother manatee and her baby, 16 fish, 4 floating lily pad groups that are also on piped as fountain heads. 12 Frogs as fountain heads are on 6 small island around the campers.  The complex fountain monument was engineered, piped, wired and construction by the sculptor. The Sculptor was ask to redraw the walkways to harmonize with the monument along with designing and construct a sign for our new park.

The monument was titled 'Uncommon Friends" with the blessing of Jim Newton, author of the book by the same name.

A documentary 'Uncommon Friends of the 20th Century ' was completed and ready for P.B.S. national broadcast in the spring of 2000.  The one-hour documentary depicts the life of these famous men as seen thru the eyes of their friend Jim Newton. Six year in the making, it is narrated by Walter Cronkite.

The 'Uncommon Friends' monument is the sculptural symbol of the City of Fort Myers.  It is to the city what the 'arch' is to St Louis.

The fame and contributions of these men are well known, but this is a monument to friendship not fame.

Voted the best public artwork is South Florida by Gulf Coast magazine, it continues to inspire and inform.


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