Code Enforcement Director Dianne Flagg told John Tosto the fines could be retroactively waived with compliance of the original 2007 order. It was once the site of a beautiful domed house built in 1980, by retired oil producer Bob Lee. One spherical form was larger than the other, acting as a sandwich between which Lee would then pour the concrete. 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. . VHF radios are recommended; cell phone service is not reliable in the area. Will you be posting again soon? • Cape Romano was first settled by Native Americans around 5,000 BC. 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 structure had 6 parts or domes connected to each other measuring 2400 square feet. The Cape Romano Dome House was built in the early 80s but was lost to erosion over time. 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 iconic Cape Romano dome home near Marco Island has enticed tourists for decades. All rights reserved. Why domes? Thanks for the article. , Very interesting and informative, thank you! ]. The walls were foam-filled for insulation and pilings underneath the domes allowed for the free-flow of water during storms. • According to Everglades matriarch Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Cape Romano was named for British surveyor Bernard Roman who sailed by it in 1775. Built by Bob Lee, a now-deceased retired oil producer in 1980. A number of legends have sprung up surrounding the origins of the crumbling cluster of domes at the tip of Cape Romano. Some kind of “Not from this world”. You know, I have researched many abandoned buildings and homes, but few have aged as well as the Dome Home. cover photo courtesy Mila Bridger Photography. 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. On a positive note, Bob Lee’s dome home has fostered an ecosystem offshore as an artificial reef. “I remember when it was actually an exhausting walk to the beach.”. ), Ah, glad to hear you liked that one as well. By 1991 Wendell was no longer satisfying his financial obligations to the property. The gutters collected the precipitation into a 23,000 gallon cistern stored underneath the home. I don’t think the link is working, however. 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). The stilt homes were constructed in the early 1980s, possibly by Bob Lee, the owner and builder of the Cape Romano Dome House. 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 did the old school production for the plan 4 years ago. • The dome home was valued at $1.5M in 1980, but by 2007 had a value of just $300k. Uncovering the history of the abandoned, forgotten, and unexplained. The following year Hurricane Wilma severely damaged the shoreline. Though originally constructed on and intended to sit on land, shoreline erosion means that as … [read: S-I feature “The Last House on Holland Island,” a story of a Chesapeake Bay home which succumbed to erosion. The new owner had intentions to renovate the home and return it to full functionality. Great post. Lee maintained a keen interest in renewable energy, experimenting with ways to lower his carbon footprint before building what would become his magnum opus. 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. If Tosto was going to save Bob Lee’s masterpiece, he would not have the cooperation of the weather. Learn about the history … 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. , Cheers Gerardo, thanks for being a regular reader! See on Google Maps   •    See on Bing Maps. Thanks Nicko, and that’s a good question. Is there a way you can change it in the original post? Great stuff. During 1978 and 1979, he was surveying land and purchased the best spot possible on which to build his futuristic home. 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. The water is amazing. 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. 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. Read about the history of the dome house before taking the boat trip. Known as erosion, it’s an exogenic process in which rock or soil is moved from one location to another. Bob Lee was quite a visionary. 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. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. 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. 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. He was right. Many know about it’s whereabouts but it’s origins were up to debate; from alien to secret cults. 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. The Calusa Tribe was the predominant early power in the area. Moving the domes was estimated to take 60 to 80 days while building the dock would take less than a month. Looks like it was quite a nice home to begin with. Geodesic domes, monolithic domes, and other dome homes still return to the real estate market and can frequently be found on Estately. Some … In the mid-1970s Mr. Lee built a prototype of his self-sustaining dome home. 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. Dome Home.. 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. It's beautiful here in Marco Island and there's a lot of history here. 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. Backup generators picked up the slack on the cloudiest days of the year. I’ve seen pictures of these over the years, it’s cool to actually get the backstory, especially from a trusted source! Lee’s family offer several reasons for this choice: A round roof smoothed the home’s profile and minimized wind interference. Well, it used to be a house — made of six interconnecting domes, built by former oil producer Bob Lee. 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. The Cape Romano homes are no more extra terrestrial than the alien-looking fish swimming around them today in the waters. 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. © Copyright 2019 WBBH/WZVN (Waterman Broadcasting). 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