Thanks for the article. Tosto alleged sea turtle nesting season offered him short windows for heavy site work, and permit delays gave him little opportunities to take advantage of those windows. 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). Despite its odd construction and shape, the dome home was a fully-functioning yet self-sustaining home. The new link is: https://youtu.be/mpRw3EakqMw. After every hurricane the landscape – and shape of the island – is changed. It caused $29.1 billion in damage and was part of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season which included the disastrous Hurricane Katrina. 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. It was a home at one time on Kice Island (Cape Romano). ), Ah, glad to hear you liked that one as well. Well, it used to be a house — made of six interconnecting domes, built by former oil producer Bob Lee. Bob’s daughter Janet Maples recalled “My dad thought the corners of rooms were wasted space as were the corners of the ceiling. Looks like it was quite a nice home to begin with. Backup generators picked up the slack on the cloudiest days of the year. View MLS photos, sales history, and use our real estate filters to find the perfect home with VIP Realty. Though originally constructed on and intended to sit on land, shoreline erosion means that as … For the next two years progress was hindered by a failure to obtain permits in time between nesting seasons. Hi Robb, No worries, I updated your first post for you. The Calusa Tribe was the predominant early power in the area. I watched the video clip and it’s beautiful! The spheres then fit together like a giant basketball; when the mix would harden and the forms were removed, the dome structure was the result. It is unknown who inhabited the homes or when they left. 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. Its dome shape played a crucial role in its design. See on Google Maps • See on Bing Maps. Wonderful piece! original photos courtesy Krisitian Maples. 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. Here is a little history on the Dome Home (according to Wikipedia and other online articles). Shortly after he purchased the dome home, Hurricane Wilma pummeled Cape Romano and altered the fragile islet’s coastline with 150-mph winds. Among the equipment: Concrete mixers and giant metal forms used to shape the domes. 1. Caxambas Island, south of Marco Island in Cape Romano, is one of the Ten Thousand Islands of Collier County, Florida. Hi Robb, thanks for sharing the video! A retired businessman, Bob Lee, in 1980 built the Dome House on Cape Romano, south of Marco Island and part of the 10,000 islands of Florida. by NBC2 ... see the world-famous Cape Romano Domes built by a man in 1979. The erosion over time by natural weather and hurricanes has left this interesting piece of history now out in the water with all the land eroded away. 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. I’ve read almost all of them. Must’ve been so beautiful to have lived there. 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. Undeterred, Tosto boarded up the home and pressed forward with his project. Developed in 1980 by businessman Bob Lee, these eco-homes started as a dome-structure inhabited by Lee and his wife. All rights reserved. After the storm, the family abandoned the Dome Home in its state of disrepair – unfortunately one from which they could not remedy. Bob had made his fortunes early in oil production and retired at age 44. But, with the fate of the domes in the hands of the state, some want action. It was constructed in 1980 by retired businessman Bob Lee, abandoned in … Did the video get moved? “[It was] the best time of my life. Aware of the sun’s potential for energy, he strategically placed skylights in rooms to maximize heat and light. Great post. The most prevalent belief is that Cape Romano got its name from the survivors of a Romanian shipwreck that colonized the island in 1834. Agreed, definitely caught my attention. • According to Everglades matriarch Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Cape Romano was named for British surveyor Bernard Roman who sailed by it in 1775. Lee’s intent was to build a vacation home for his family. In the mid-1970s Mr. Lee built a prototype of his self-sustaining dome home. It started as a dream. 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. Undeterred, Tosto alternatively predicted the fines would go away when he is allowed permits to continue construction. Unbelievable and actually talked to the original family? In 1980, Lee began constructing the home, which was a white-painted concrete structure. It was the 1960s when Bob Lee (pictured at right) began inventing things for his homes. By 1991 Wendell was no longer satisfying his financial obligations to the property. I think that the traveling the state of Florida and finding places like this is it's a hidden gem and. 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. The dome home also had solar panels to generate energy. “The Cape Romano Dome House is an abandoned house consisting of six dome-shaped modules on stilts, located approximately 300 feet offshore from Cape Romano Island (as of 2019), south of Marco Island, in the Ten Thousand Islands of Collier County, Florida. The rooms felt very large and open.”, (note the distance from the home to the water). Thanks so much Cynthia. cover photo courtesy Mila Bridger Photography. 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. He eventually purchased four adjacent plots of land for his project. It was one of my personal favorites, loved that story as well. Over the years, the so-called dome home has made a slow, watery descent into the Gulf of Mexico—erosion and powerful hurricanes to blame for its demise. 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. It is on the next Island down called Ten Thousand Island, which is only accessible via water. Such an amazing story, once again. 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. Teens used the domes as a hangout, fishermen used them to cast lines, and graffiti artists treated them like a blank canvas. That was it.”. Dome Home.. 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. “It’s just something I wanted from the first time I saw it. Mr. Lee acquired a barge to haul his building equipment to the island. As always, the highlight of my working week. Over several years Bob honed his craft and learned from his mistakes. Uncovering the history of the abandoned, forgotten, and unexplained. And credit to the Lee family for sharing the original pictures, it was quite a sight wasn’t it? Why domes? He was right. It is a fascinating read. Learn how your comment data is processed. Will you be posting again soon? The island belongs to a larger group of Ten Thousand Islands. He thought the dome ceiling gave the feeling of openness. . Copyright © 2020 Waterman Broadcasting of Florida, LLC, Learn the history behind the world-famous Cape Romano Dome House. 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. I’ve been waiting for an update on your blog, haven’t seen much lately. History. (And you referenced my favorite article of yours – the one about Holland Island! It was constructed in … Today the shifting sands have left the domes in water and looking like giant Scrubbing Bubbles cleaning the ocean shore. I was there shortly afterwards witnessing the end – sadly. Is there a way you can change it in the original post? 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. They look like jelly fish now and rather beautiful. © Copyright 2019 WBBH/WZVN (Waterman Broadcasting). , Cheers Gerardo, thanks for being a regular reader! 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. Code Enforcement Director Dianne Flagg told John Tosto the fines could be retroactively waived with compliance of the original 2007 order. 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. Construction on the Cape Romano dome home, about 5 miles south of Marco Island, started in 1980 and was completed in 1982. He eventually purchased four adjacent plots of land for his project. In the interim, the Tosto family has offered space to Rookery Bay to store sea turtle research and monitoring supplies on the property. Moving the domes was estimated to take 60 to 80 days while building the dock would take less than a month. Five miles south of Marco Island near Naples, Florida, six igloo-shaped buildings appear to slowly march into the sea. This large point of land is one of Florida’s earliest recognized geographic features similar to … 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. Learn about the history … To make the sight even more remarkable, swirling like iridescent tornado clouds around the gathering were millions of shimmering, silver baitfish. Materials would be delivered by barge, and timed as to not interfere with sea turtle and shorebird nesting seasons. House Architecture. I’ve seen pictures of these over the years, it’s cool to actually get the backstory, especially from a trusted source! Danke für den Kommentar! Ultimately some board members cited his failure to make progress in years prior as swaying their decision. It was as if all the fish and rays living along that part of the Collier County coast decided to hangout in one location. When Lee felt confident he was ready to build the family’s dream vacation home, he began to search for the ideal secluded location. . 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. Read about the history of the dome house before taking the boat trip. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Six 400 square foot domes combined to create 2,400 square feet of open living space.. One spherical form was larger than the other, acting as a sandwich between which Lee would then pour the concrete. Your investigation behind the story of a place always amazes me.. Every single time! The three bedrooms and three bathrooms were powered by solar energy. 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. Thanks for reading Robyn, and I appreciate the comment. ... Aerial Video of the Abandoned Cape Romano Dome House. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. It was a 3 bedroom 3 bathroom house, 2400 square foot that was completely off the grid, which was actually a quarter-mile inland when it was completed. World's Largest Old Car Junkyard: Old Car City U.S.A. • Cape Romano was first settled by Native Americans around 5,000 BC. A holiday home built in 1980 by a retired independent oil producer, Bob Lee, trying to fill his time with ambitious DIY projects, the houses was ahead of its time, self-sustaining, and solar-powered. Coastal Breeze News. The Dome Homes are one of the main attractions for visitors to the area. The Cape Romano homes are no more extra terrestrial than the alien-looking fish swimming around them today in the waters. 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 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. I’m only going to make it better.”, above photos circa 2007 & courtesy gunboats. After two years of construction, the Lee family was able to move into the home by 1982. The Cape Romano Dome House is not technically on Marco Island, Florida. 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 … 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.”. The deteriorating domes of Cape Romano have been rumored to be the work of extra-terrestrials, a community home of a secret cult, or a clandestine research facility protected by guards with machine guns. I am so pleased to finally learn the history of this fascinating place and so glad it is now a successful artificial reef. From 1980-1982, he built his dome home on Cape Romano Florida. 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. These blog’s posts never disappoint. 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. They have a fascinating and bizarre history. Known as erosion, it’s an exogenic process in which rock or soil is moved from one location to another. I did the old school production for the plan 4 years ago. He acknowledges “we’re right in the middle of the Rookery Bay Reserve. 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. Instead Tosto planned to relocate the domes farther away from the coastline and bring them into compliance with county building codes. “I remember when it was actually an exhausting walk to the beach.”. In 2009 the Tosto family trust had $500k invested; at the time it was estimated another $900k would be required to finish the renovation. It was tropical storm Isaac in August 2012 that finally put the entire site underwater. Can’t believe I lived in Florida so many years and never heard of this. Home » NBC-2 | WBBH » Learn the history behind the world-famous Cape Romano Dome House, MARCO ISLAND, Fla. – Just six miles south of Marco Island, you’ll see the world-famous Cape Romano Domes built by a man in 1979. Since then, two of the six domes … Thanks Noelle, I appreciate it! Water erosion helped create the Grand Canyon, and wind erosion is responsible for Utah’s famous Arches National Park. • Getting to Cape Romano: It is located south of Marco Island and only accessible via boat or kayak. Bob and Margaret Lee wanted the six interconnected dome … “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. 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. Cape Romano Dome House. [read: S-I feature “The Last House on Holland Island,” a story of a Chesapeake Bay home which succumbed to erosion. 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. The Cape Romano Dome House was built in the early 80s but was lost to erosion over time. ]. Some … Strong currents and what’s called a longshore drift perpetually batter the fragile shoreline. It was a house unlike anything else at the time, built to be almost completely self-sustaining. My friends and I wanted to do something different so planned a boat trip to Cape Romano to see the dome house that is now close to disappearing into the sea. The spherical shape also helps capture rainwater via a gutter system, which Lee designed to surround the base of each dome (see picture below). Texas Tiny Homes | Plan 618, one our most popular selling small house plans is now in full 3D production. Would you mind if I included it in the post, with attribution to you of course? Keep writing!!! We dive into the fascinating history behind Cape Romano's peculiar, igloo-like structures, which have been a treasured fixture to Southwest Floridians since the early 1980s. Here’s a link to some aerial footage of the domes that I shot on July 17, 2015. https://youtu.be/mpRw3EakqMw. Cape Romano Dome House History. The gutters collected the precipitation into a 23,000 gallon cistern stored underneath the home. 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. You know, I have researched many abandoned buildings and homes, but few have aged as well as the Dome Home. By 2007 the Collier County Code Enforcement Board issued an order the structure was unsafe and must be demolished or removed within two years. There were no sharp corners for the wind to catch on and it would roll right around the structure. The walls were foam-filled for insulation and pilings underneath the domes allowed for the free-flow of water during storms. This new production will provide 3D renderings, and will make it easier to do modifications for future clients/customers. The following year Hurricane Wilma severely damaged the shoreline. The new owner had intentions to renovate the home and return it to full functionality. In 1980, the mysterious dome structures were built by Bob and Margaret Lee on the Cape Romano shore. . Many people wonder — what are these odd dome-shaped structures off the coast of Marco Island? 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. Saved by PhotoKisses. The water is amazing. Another excellent article! For Marco Island, Florida current local news and the latest headlines from Marco Island, Naples and Southwest Florida read Coastal Breeze News. Saved from coastalbreezenews.com. By 2009 the building was standing in water. Lee and his wife decided to remodel the home and occupied it once again, this time for two years until Hurricane Andrew in the summer of 1992. The structure had survived the storm, but the windows and walkways had been lost to the category five hurricane (see below). You got pictures of it new! 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!’”. “I’m not trying to be a rebel here, I’m willing to share.” He said. It was once the site of a beautiful domed house built in 1980, by retired oil producer Bob Lee. • 2005’s Hurricane Wilma was the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic basin, and a direct hit on Cape Romano. Due to its location, the dome home has fallen victim to several types of erosion, including sea erosion and soil erosion. As far as threats, the vandal’s spray paint pales in comparison to the natural removal of soil. Thanks Jenny, I appreciate the feedback. As always, delightful and entertaining! ... and the interesting dome-like structures of Cape Romano. 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. For the next two years a caretaker by the name of Brian Slager was hired to make improvements on the property. The following year the home was 25 yards offshore, and by 2013 it was sitting in six feet of water. Now, everyone comes from all over just to see them. , What a story! . Fascinating to see the slow decline in pictures. I don’t think the link is working, however. Family property in Gatlinburg, Tennessee would be host to the experiment. Amazing. Wonderful, as always! Loved it, loved it, loved it! It's beautiful here in Marco Island and there's a lot of history here. Daughter of Bob Lee (original owner/builder of Dome Home), gives a tour of the inside of the beautiful domes in Florida. The closest boat ramps are Caxambas Pass and Goodland Boating Park, roughly six miles away. 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. 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Drift perpetually batter the fragile shoreline Bubbles cleaning the ocean shore by Native Americans around 5,000 BC 1980-1982... Current local news and the other, acting as a sandwich between which Lee would then pour the.. John Tosto the fines could be retroactively waived with compliance of the original pictures it... Living space when it was constructed in 1980 by retired businessman Bob Lee ’ s builder would happy.
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