Developed in 1980 by businessman Bob Lee, these eco-homes started as a dome-structure inhabited by Lee and his wife. Due to its location, the dome home has fallen victim to several types of erosion, including sea erosion and soil erosion. The following year the home was 25 yards offshore, and by 2013 it was sitting in six feet of water. Undeterred, Tosto boarded up the home and pressed forward with his project. For the next two years progress was hindered by a failure to obtain permits in time between nesting seasons. 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. That was it.”. In 2009 the Tosto family trust had $500k invested; at the time it was estimated another $900k would be required to finish the renovation. 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. They eventually sold the home, and the domes now … 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. • According to Everglades matriarch Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Cape Romano was named for British surveyor Bernard Roman who sailed by it in 1775. Unbelievable and actually talked to the original family? Why domes? The Cape Romano Dome House was built in the early 80s but was lost to erosion over time. , Cheers Gerardo, thanks for being a regular reader! ... and the interesting dome-like structures of Cape Romano. I don’t think the link is working, however. It was one of my personal favorites, loved that story as well. For Marco Island, Florida current local news and the latest headlines from Marco Island, Naples and Southwest Florida read Coastal Breeze News. 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. He eventually purchased four adjacent plots of land for his project. 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. ]. It is on the next Island down called Ten Thousand Island, which is only accessible via water. Its dome shape played a crucial role in its design. It was the 1960s when Bob Lee (pictured at right) began inventing things for his homes. 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. A number of legends have sprung up surrounding the origins of the crumbling cluster of domes at the tip of Cape Romano. 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. Construction on the Cape Romano dome home, about 5 miles south of Marco Island, started in 1980 and was completed in 1982. 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 was once the site of a beautiful domed house built in 1980, by retired oil producer Bob Lee. I bet it was interesting! 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. But, with the fate of the domes in the hands of the state, some want action. 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. Cape Romano Dome House. He thought the dome ceiling gave the feeling of openness. Saved by PhotoKisses. [read: S-I feature “The Last House on Holland Island,” a story of a Chesapeake Bay home which succumbed to erosion. Undeterred, Tosto alternatively predicted the fines would go away when he is allowed permits to continue construction. 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. “It’s just something I wanted from the first time I saw it. Tosto was able to produce an engineer’s certification which indicated the home was repairable. Bob once installed a water pipe system under his floors and routed them through his fireplace, using the heat from the fireplace to keep his floors warm as well. 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. Hi Robb, No worries, I updated your first post for you. “A lot of people use that property down there. 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. Lee’s family offer several reasons for this choice: A round roof smoothed the home’s profile and minimized wind interference. Amazing. This was friggin’ awesome!!! 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. They look like jelly fish now and rather beautiful. Thanks so much Cynthia. 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. View MLS photos, sales history, and use our real estate filters to find the perfect home with VIP Realty. Agreed, definitely caught my attention. Fascinating to see the slow decline in pictures. As always, the highlight of my working week. In 1980, Lee began constructing the home, which was a white-painted concrete structure. Wonderful piece! Five miles south of Marco Island near Naples, Florida, six igloo-shaped buildings appear to slowly march into the sea. These blog’s posts never disappoint. 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. , What a story! They have a fascinating and bizarre history. The new owner had intentions to renovate the home and return it to full functionality. Loved it, loved it, loved it! A filter system purified the water for use in bathing and cleaning while two hot water heaters regulated water temperature. Ultimately some board members cited his failure to make progress in years prior as swaying their decision. I think it’s builder would be happy. 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. After every hurricane the landscape – and shape of the island – is changed. by NBC2 ... see the world-famous Cape Romano Domes built by a man in 1979. Lee maintained a keen interest in renewable energy, experimenting with ways to lower his carbon footprint before building what would become his magnum opus. Although the domes were originally built on Morgan Island, the erosion now means that the structure is closer to Cape Romano, hence its more common name of “Cape Romano Dome House.” At one point, a non-profit organization from Naples called Oceans for Youth started a fundraiser to sink the domes fully and make an artificial reef out of them. 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. The spherical shape also helps capture rainwater via a gutter system, which Lee designed to surround the base of each dome (see picture below). Learn about the history … Would you mind if I included it in the post, with attribution to you of course? Thanks Nicko, and that’s a good question. 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. As always, delightful and entertaining! Mr. Lee acquired a barge to haul his building equipment to the island. Today the shifting sands have left the domes in water and looking like giant Scrubbing Bubbles cleaning the ocean shore. • Getting to Cape Romano: It is located south of Marco Island and only accessible via boat or kayak. It was a house unlike anything else at the time, built to be almost completely self-sustaining. The Cape Romano homes are no more extra terrestrial than the alien-looking fish swimming around them today in the waters. All rights reserved. Vexing architecture. House Architecture. 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. And credit to the Lee family for sharing the original pictures, it was quite a sight wasn’t it? Can’t believe I lived in Florida so many years and never heard of this. . The gutters collected the precipitation into a 23,000 gallon cistern stored underneath the home. Well, it used to be a house — made of six interconnecting domes, built by former oil producer Bob Lee. Learn the history behind the world-famous Cape Romano Dome House. Somehow the dome home earned a reputation as a scary place over the years. Six 400 square foot domes combined to create 2,400 square feet of open living space.. I thought I’d leave a comment to let you know how much I enjoy your articles. Code Enforcement Director Dianne Flagg told John Tosto the fines could be retroactively waived with compliance of the original 2007 order. The Cape Romano Dome House is not technically on Marco Island, Florida. World's Largest Old Car Junkyard: Old Car City U.S.A. By 2009 the building was standing in water. Between 1978 and 1979 Lee purchased lots from four different owners on Cape Romano, at the southern end of Caxambas Island on the west coast of Florida. Despite its odd construction and shape, the dome home was a fully-functioning yet self-sustaining home. The Dome Homes are one of the main attractions for visitors to the area. I’ve been waiting for an update on your blog, haven’t seen much lately. 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. Be wary of tides which can fluctuate several feet. Thanks for the article. Here is a little history on the Dome Home (according to Wikipedia and other online articles). cover photo courtesy Mila Bridger Photography. 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. 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. “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. 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. Keep writing!!! I think that the traveling the state of Florida and finding places like this is it's a hidden gem and. 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. During 1978 and 1979, he was surveying land and purchased the best spot possible on which to build his futuristic home. This new production will provide 3D renderings, and will make it easier to do modifications for future clients/customers. For the next two years a caretaker by the name of Brian Slager was hired to make improvements on the property. I’m only going to make it better.”, above photos circa 2007 & courtesy gunboats. Cape Romano You can only see this by boat. They are very well written and always interesting! Lee’s intent was to build a vacation home for his family. Water erosion helped create the Grand Canyon, and wind erosion is responsible for Utah’s famous Arches National Park. 3. It's beautiful here in Marco Island and there's a lot of history here. Though originally constructed on and intended to sit on land, shoreline erosion means that as … Such special buildings – with a dramatic life……, Thanks, I share your opinion. It was a home at one time on Kice Island (Cape Romano). See on Google Maps   •    See on Bing Maps. It is a fascinating read. Thank you!!! 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. In the mid-1970s Mr. Lee built a prototype of his self-sustaining dome home. 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. You know, I have researched many abandoned buildings and homes, but few have aged as well as the Dome Home. Strong currents and what’s called a longshore drift perpetually batter the fragile shoreline. 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 did the old school production for the plan 4 years ago. 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. Tak for kommentaren Truels. 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. It was tropical storm Isaac in August 2012 that finally put the entire site underwater. © Copyright 2019 WBBH/WZVN (Waterman Broadcasting). 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 … One spherical form was larger than the other, acting as a sandwich between which Lee would then pour the concrete. Instead Tosto planned to relocate the domes farther away from the coastline and bring them into compliance with county building codes. (And you referenced my favorite article of yours – the one about Holland Island! 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. Great job compiling and laying out all the information available about these domes! VHF radios are recommended; cell phone service is not reliable in the area. Among the equipment: Concrete mixers and giant metal forms used to shape the domes. The closest boat ramps are Caxambas Pass and Goodland Boating Park, roughly six miles away. We understand their concerns.”. Known as erosion, it’s an exogenic process in which rock or soil is moved from one location to another. 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. Hope came in the form of John Tosto, a Naples resident whose family trust purchased the dome home in 2005 for $300,000. 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. Lighted walkways provided access to the water, one to the lagoon behind the Dome Home and the other to the ocean in front. 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. Must’ve been so beautiful to have lived there. . Saved from coastalbreezenews.com. 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. Many know about it’s whereabouts but it’s origins were up to debate; from alien to secret cults. 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. Since then, two of the six domes … I watched the video clip and it’s beautiful! Your investigation behind the story of a place always amazes me.. Every single time! Now, everyone comes from all over just to see them. Bob had made his fortunes early in oil production and retired at age 44. Search Dallas, Texas real estate for sale or lease. The dome home was not lacking in features and boasted air conditioning, ceiling fans, a hot tub, satellite television, and skylights. When Lee felt confident he was ready to build the family’s dream vacation home, he began to search for the ideal secluded location. By 2007 the Collier County Code Enforcement Board issued an order the structure was unsafe and must be demolished or removed within two years. 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. ), Ah, glad to hear you liked that one as well. Family property in Gatlinburg, Tennessee would be host to the experiment. Did the video get moved? Will you be posting again soon? Thanks! There were no sharp corners for the wind to catch on and it would roll right around the structure. Teens used the domes as a hangout, fishermen used them to cast lines, and graffiti artists treated them like a blank canvas. Ocean waves first began their daily dance with the pillars of the dome home in 2004. To make the sight even more remarkable, swirling like iridescent tornado clouds around the gathering were millions of shimmering, silver baitfish. I’ve read almost all of them. Learn how your comment data is processed. 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. “I’m not trying to be a rebel here, I’m willing to share.” He said. 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. It was gorgeous. Coastal Breeze News. Thanks for reading Robyn, and I appreciate the comment. • Cape Romano was first settled by Native Americans around 5,000 BC. The most prevalent belief is that Cape Romano got its name from the survivors of a Romanian shipwreck that colonized the island in 1834. Yes. Materials would be delivered by barge, and timed as to not interfere with sea turtle and shorebird nesting seasons. “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. The stilt homes were constructed in the early 1980s, possibly by Bob Lee, the owner and builder of the Cape Romano Dome House. Shortly after he purchased the dome home, Hurricane Wilma pummeled Cape Romano and altered the fragile islet’s coastline with 150-mph winds. Magic. If Tosto was going to save Bob Lee’s masterpiece, he would not have the cooperation of the weather. Caxambas Island, south of Marco Island in Cape Romano, is one of the Ten Thousand Islands of Collier County, Florida. The next twelve years for the dome home were spent abandoned, vacant and deteriorating from exposure to the elements. 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