I’m only going to make it better.”, above photos circa 2007 & courtesy gunboats. By 2013, the house was sitting in six-feet-deep water and by 2016, the home was almost completely submerged, sitting 180 feet off the coast of Cape Romano. “I remember when it was actually an exhausting walk to the beach.”. This large point of land is one of Florida’s earliest recognized geographic features similar to … Your investigation behind the story of a place always amazes me.. Every single time! Bob Lee’s creation is likely no longer salvageable; its submerged location and prolonged exposure to saltwater add economically insurmountable salvage costs to the relocation costs and likely push total estimates beyond those of new construction. I wish that I could act on every idea that pops into my head… then again~ maybe not Really, SI you have done it again. Undeterred, Tosto boarded up the home and pressed forward with his project. Thanks for the article. “A lot of people use that property down there. Moving the domes was estimated to take 60 to 80 days while building the dock would take less than a month. Somehow the dome home earned a reputation as a scary place over the years. Thanks so much Cynthia. You know, I have researched many abandoned buildings and homes, but few have aged as well as the Dome Home. House Architecture. You got pictures of it new! Bob Lee, a retired oil producer, purchased a beautiful piece of Florida paradise in Southwest Florida's Marco Islands/Naples area to build a revolutionary luxury beach home. Great job compiling and laying out all the information available about these domes! As always, the highlight of my working week. ), Ah, glad to hear you liked that one as well. By 2011 the home’s foundation was completely submerged. “Bob Lee, a now-deceased retired oil producer, spent much of the years 1978 and 1979 surveying and purchasing land on Cape Romano in hopes of constructing a vacation home. History. This incredible structure was originally built as six dome modules atop of stilts on the beach of Cape Romano. Abandoned in the early 1990s, Cape Romano’s Dome Home has endured several hurricanes and tropical storms – but it has been unable to win the war against erosion. , Very interesting and informative, thank you! Caxambas Island, south of Marco Island in Cape Romano, is one of the Ten Thousand Islands of Collier County, Florida. I’m sorry, I forgot to update it. The Cape Romano Dome House is not technically on Marco Island, Florida. (And you referenced my favorite article of yours – the one about Holland Island! Geodesic domes, monolithic domes, and other dome homes still return to the real estate market and can frequently be found on Estately. Really fascinating! Florida Weekly Correspondent Cynthia Mott went on a snorkel trip to the Dome Home and she spoke of its beauty: I’ve snorkeled Grand Cayman, Mexico and Fiji, yet have never witnessed a more diverse, crowded concentration of undersea life than what has taken up residence under the remnants of those domes. Here is a little history on the Dome Home (according to Wikipedia and other online articles). Did the video get moved? I guess buildings don’t need to be biodegradable if they can sustain a different type of life. Many people wonder — what are these odd dome-shaped structures off the coast of Marco Island? Thanks for reading Robyn, and I appreciate the comment. The spherical shape also helps capture rainwater via a gutter system, which Lee designed to surround the base of each dome (see picture below). Another excellent article! The rooms felt very large and open.”, (note the distance from the home to the water). The houses were originally constructed on sand, but erosion which became rapid in 1986 eventually submerged the stilts, although the inhabitable rooms remained above water. Some … They are very well written and always interesting! Lee’s intent was to build a vacation home for his family. Here’s an alternative “history” of the Cape Romano village: http://kayakfari.wordpress.com/kayakfari-art/art-of-cape-romano-the-curious-inhabitants-of-australopithecine-island/ , Thanks, and I enjoyed that “alternative” history, it was an entertaining account. The stilt homes were constructed in the early 1980s, possibly by Bob Lee, the owner and builder of the Cape Romano Dome House. It was once the site of a beautiful domed house built in 1980, by retired oil producer Bob Lee. Such special buildings – with a dramatic life……, Thanks, I share your opinion. ... Aerial Video of the Abandoned Cape Romano Dome House. We understand their concerns.”. Great post. Built by Bob Lee, a now-deceased retired oil producer in 1980. Well, it used to be a house — made of six interconnecting domes, built by former oil producer Bob Lee. Over several years Bob honed his craft and learned from his mistakes. Thanks for the comment. It's beautiful here in Marco Island and there's a lot of history here. One spherical form was larger than the other, acting as a sandwich between which Lee would then pour the concrete. Once in the water, be sure to use a nautical chart and GPS as it is easy to get lost in the tangle of mangrove islands in the area. The gutters collected the precipitation into a 23,000 gallon cistern stored underneath the home. It was a home at one time on Kice Island (Cape Romano). This was friggin’ awesome!!! It started as a dream. Lee’s family offer several reasons for this choice: A round roof smoothed the home’s profile and minimized wind interference. However the first actual mention of "Romano" in the oldest surviving historical documents of the region came in 1878 after the founding of the famous cheese factory "Romano Cheese Corporation". Two of these domes have already fallen down but they still have four more left if you want to come down to Marco Island to check them out. The last few issues of this newspaper have contained excellent articles about Cape Romano, regarding the history of the dome house and the former pyramid house built in the early 1980s. Daughter of Bob Lee (original owner/builder of Dome Home), gives a tour of the inside of the beautiful domes in Florida. Why domes? Materials would be delivered by barge, and timed as to not interfere with sea turtle and shorebird nesting seasons. Located on the southwest tip of the island of Cape Romano—one of the nearly 10, 000 islands—the dome house is accessible by boat from Marco Island about 50 miles south of Naples. With the deed still in the name of the Lees, the Dome Home returned to Bob and his family after foreclosure. It was one of my personal favorites, loved that story as well. • Cape Romano was first settled by Native Americans around 5,000 BC. The Cape Romano Dome House was built in the early 80s but was lost to erosion over time. Though originally constructed on and intended to sit on land, shoreline erosion means that as … This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. According to the Florida DEP, the Cape Romano dome home site is on land that previously was uplands but has become submerged due to erosion. The structure had survived the storm, but the windows and walkways had been lost to the category five hurricane (see below). The water is amazing. I think that the traveling the state of Florida and finding places like this is it's a hidden gem and. Watch exclusive 4k Dome Home Aerial footage courtesy S-I reader Robb Stan: visit the Cape Romano Community Facebook Page, Special thanks to Janet Maples, Mike Morgan, Kristian Maples, Brian Slager, Melissa Blazier, Marci Seamples, and Natalie Strom of the Coastal Breeze News. Backup generators picked up the slack on the cloudiest days of the year. For Marco Island, Florida current local news and the latest headlines from Marco Island, Naples and Southwest Florida read Coastal Breeze News. Lee maintained a keen interest in renewable energy, experimenting with ways to lower his carbon footprint before building what would become his magnum opus. As always, delightful and entertaining! The Cape Romano Dome House is an abandoned modern house located on Caxambas Island, south of Marco Island in Cape Romano in the Ten Thousand Islands of Collier County, Florida.It was constructed in 1980 by retired businessman Bob Lee, abandoned in 1992, sold in 2005 to John Tosto. Search Dallas, Texas real estate for sale or lease. Southwest Florida coronavirus case totals for Thursday, July 23, Woman stabs two in Punta Gorda, tries to hold family captive inside their home, Man arrested after threatening shopper at Walmart with gun over mask argument, One dead in rollover crash on I-75 at Alico Road, University of Florida Men’s Basketball player collapses during game, Teen killed in Lehigh Acres hit and run crash, driver arrested, Local Republicans support Florida becoming its own country, Oh… my… gator… Florida blue heron eats baby alligator, Crews find man’s body after falling overboard on Fort Myers dinner cruise, Amateur codebreakers solve the Zodiac Killer’s cipher after 51 years. “It’s just something I wanted from the first time I saw it. Wendell had plans to acquire adjacent properties on the island for a business venture, but first he wanted to make improvements to the dome home property. In 2009 the Tosto family trust had $500k invested; at the time it was estimated another $900k would be required to finish the renovation. According to the permit application, the domes would be moved by crane and set atop new concrete and steel pilings more than 50 feet tall and at least 25 feet away from wetlands. It caused $29.1 billion in damage and was part of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season which included the disastrous Hurricane Katrina. Shortly after he purchased the dome home, Hurricane Wilma pummeled Cape Romano and altered the fragile islet’s coastline with 150-mph winds. Dome home builder Bob Lee had previously advised the next owner would want to install a seawall to protect the home; however by the time Tosto acquired the property it was understood to be futile to try and preserve the location. I think it’s builder would be happy. I did the old school production for the plan 4 years ago. It was gorgeous. Learn the history behind the world-famous Cape Romano Dome House. In truth it was a cutting edge home, designed and built by an enigmatic visionary with an eye for the eco-friendly and a goal of minimizing his carbon footprint. By 2009 the building was standing in water. As of now, you can still discover Florida’s mysterious dome home before it sinks into the sea due to increased erosion from the sand. One by one, area coastline homes on the island were abandoned (including the pyramid house – also built by Bob Lee) as they were felled by natural disasters such as Hurricanes Andrew (1992), Wilma (2005), and Tropical Storm Fay (2008). Here’s a link to some aerial footage of the domes that I shot on July 17, 2015. https://youtu.be/mpRw3EakqMw. See on Google Maps   •    See on Bing Maps. He was right. Lee lived in the property until 1992, which is when Hurricane Andrew came across the coast, blew out all the windows, caused massive water damage, and Lee ended up abandoning the property about two years later. And credit to the Lee family for sharing the original pictures, it was quite a sight wasn’t it? Strong currents and what’s called a longshore drift perpetually batter the fragile shoreline. Uncovering the history of the abandoned, forgotten, and unexplained. by NBC2 ... see the world-famous Cape Romano Domes built by a man in 1979. Built in 1981 on the southern tip of Marco Island on Cape Romano, the Dome House is an igloo-like concrete complex made up of white dome chambers, now decaying and slipping slowly into the ocean. In The Everglades: River of Grass, Miss Douglas wrote: “(the cape) juts boldly south, at the head of the Ten Thousand Islands … where Indian canoes and small Spanish vessels had always moved between Cuba and the beaches north of Cape Romano.”. It was constructed in … The walls were foam-filled for insulation and pilings underneath the domes allowed for the free-flow of water during storms. 3. Amazing. A number of legends have sprung up surrounding the origins of the crumbling cluster of domes at the tip of Cape Romano. The iconic Cape Romano dome home near Marco Island has enticed tourists for decades. Thanks Jenny, I appreciate the feedback. For seven years Bob and his family enjoyed their time in the dome home at Cape Romano, but by 1989 the family sold the residence to George Wendell.Wendell had plans to acquire adjacent properties on the island for a business venture, but first he wanted to make improvements to the dome home property.For the next two years a caretaker by the name of Brian Slager was hired to make improvements on the property. , What a story! Danke für den Kommentar! To make the sight even more remarkable, swirling like iridescent tornado clouds around the gathering were millions of shimmering, silver baitfish. . I have to give credit to Natalie Strom from the Coastal Breeze News for doing the legwork and speaking with the family, I’m just using her research. For the next two years a caretaker by the name of Brian Slager was hired to make improvements on the property. The popularity of dome homes reached its zenith in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but they still have a large cult following in the United States and around the world. Cape Romano Dome House. A filter system purified the water for use in bathing and cleaning while two hot water heaters regulated water temperature. “[It was] the best time of my life. For the next two years progress was hindered by a failure to obtain permits in time between nesting seasons. Instead Tosto planned to relocate the domes farther away from the coastline and bring them into compliance with county building codes. 1. Janet Maples recalls one conversation overheard at a drugstore on Marco Island: “Some people in the row behind me were saying, ‘Have you been by those dome houses?’ And the other one said, ‘Yeah, but I hear they guard that with machine guns!’”. Tosto was able to produce an engineer’s certification which indicated the home was repairable. Loved it, loved it, loved it! I don’t think the link is working, however. During 1978 and 1979, he was surveying land and purchased the best spot possible on which to build his futuristic home. Texas Tiny Homes | Plan 618, one our most popular selling small house plans is now in full 3D production. Coastal Breeze News. The structure had 6 parts or domes connected to each other measuring 2400 square feet. I was there shortly afterwards witnessing the end – sadly. Family property in Gatlinburg, Tennessee would be host to the experiment. Distance from Downtown Naples: 25 miles Address: Dome Homes, 1527 Buccaneer Ct, Marco Island, FL 34145 The Cape Romano Dome House is an abandoned modern house located on Caxambas Island, south of Marco Island in Cape Romano in the Ten Thousand Islands of Collier County, Florida. Would you mind if I included it in the post, with attribution to you of course? The "dome homes" on Cape Romano near Marco Island were a complex of circular concrete structures designed by a Tennessee man named Bob Lee who fell in … original photos courtesy Krisitian Maples. He thought the dome ceiling gave the feeling of openness. Cape Romano You can only see this by boat. Five miles south of Marco Island near Naples, Florida, six igloo-shaped buildings appear to slowly march into the sea. They look like jelly fish now and rather beautiful. The following year the home was 25 yards offshore, and by 2013 it was sitting in six feet of water. Slager lived in the dome home while he built a new dock, upgraded the electrical system, and groomed the grounds with heavy machinery. Since then, two of the six domes … The group of six white concrete structures built in 1980 by Bob Lee were abandoned by the family in 1992 after Hurricane Andrew destroyed the interior. Be wary of tides which can fluctuate several feet. Water erosion helped create the Grand Canyon, and wind erosion is responsible for Utah’s famous Arches National Park. • 2005’s Hurricane Wilma was the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic basin, and a direct hit on Cape Romano. VHF radios are recommended; cell phone service is not reliable in the area. Here is a related story from us: Cape Romano Dome House – An abandoned luxury home with a tangled history is being swallowed up by the sea. By 2007 the Collier County Code Enforcement Board issued an order the structure was unsafe and must be demolished or removed within two years. That was it.”. I watched the video clip and it’s beautiful! Thank you!!! Acquiring permits proved to be a stumbling block John could not overcome; between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the Collier County Code Building and Enforcement Departments, the regulatory oversight was suffocating. Lee had a gutter system that went around the base so that when it rained it would trickle down all sides and get caught in that gutter and sent to a 23,000-gallon cistern, and that’s how he got his drinking water. World's Largest Old Car Junkyard: Old Car City U.S.A. From 1980-1982, he built his dome home on Cape Romano Florida. Magic. • Getting to Cape Romano: It is located south of Marco Island and only accessible via boat or kayak. Read about the history of the dome house before taking the boat trip. Lee’s family said that on sunny days, they could do anything, but when it was cloudy, they had to conserve energy so that there was enough power to get them through the day. Keep writing!!! Today the shifting sands have left the domes in water and looking like giant Scrubbing Bubbles cleaning the ocean shore. Dome Home.. Construction on the Cape Romano dome home, about 5 miles south of Marco Island, started in 1980 and was completed in 1982. The next twelve years for the dome home were spent abandoned, vacant and deteriorating from exposure to the elements. Would be interested to know what he did next. Apart from admiring the old mining town, tourists can also enjoy glacier hiking, ice climbing and exploring the maze of abandoned company buildings with the help of local guide services. Now, everyone comes from all over just to see them. Due to its location, the dome home has fallen victim to several types of erosion, including sea erosion and soil erosion. “I’m not trying to be a rebel here, I’m willing to share.” He said. Bob’s daughter Janet Maples recalled “My dad thought the corners of rooms were wasted space as were the corners of the ceiling. The three bedrooms and three bathrooms were powered by solar energy. I bet it was interesting! … Many know about it’s whereabouts but it’s origins were up to debate; from alien to secret cults. Looks like it was quite a nice home to begin with. Sand from Cape Romano beaches was sent to a lab in Illinois to confirm proper aggregate for use in concrete before construction began in 1980. Yes. Bob Lee, a now-deceased retired oil producer, spent much of the years 1978 and 1979 surveying and purchasing land on Morgan Island in hopes of constructing a vacation home. • According to Everglades matriarch Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Cape Romano was named for British surveyor Bernard Roman who sailed by it in 1775. Can’t believe I lived in Florida so many years and never heard of this. Great stuff. Saved from coastalbreezenews.com. By 1991 Wendell was no longer satisfying his financial obligations to the property. This new production will provide 3D renderings, and will make it easier to do modifications for future clients/customers. View MLS photos, sales history, and use our real estate filters to find the perfect home with VIP Realty. After two years of construction, the Lee family was able to move into the home by 1982. The island belongs to a larger group of Ten Thousand Islands. The most prevalent belief is that Cape Romano got its name from the survivors of a Romanian shipwreck that colonized the island in 1834. a story of a Chesapeake Bay home which succumbed to erosion, Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), View SometimesInteresting’s profile on Facebook, View SomeInteresting’s profile on Twitter, View SometimesInteresting’s profile on YouTube, the family sold the residence to George Wendell, Moving the domes was estimated to take 60 to 80 days, some board members cited his failure to make progress, the Code Enforcement Board of Collier County levied fines, I’m not trying to be a rebel here, I’m willing to share, Abandoned Nuclear Project: Marble Hill, Indiana, http://kayakfari.wordpress.com/kayakfari-art/art-of-cape-romano-the-curious-inhabitants-of-australopithecine-island/, The Wild Men of Borneo – Hiram and Barney Davis, New Zealand Village Buried Under Massive Mud Volcano, Howard Johnson’s, Host of the Bygone Ways, Story of Chang and Eng Bunker – Conjoined Twins, Concrete Arrows and the U.S. Airmail Beacon System, Largest Abandoned Factory in the World: The Packard Factory, Detroit, City United Methodist Church of Gary, Indiana. 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