It was constructed in … 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. The dome home was not lacking in features and boasted air conditioning, ceiling fans, a hot tub, satellite television, and skylights. Coastal Breeze News. Among the equipment: Concrete mixers and giant metal forms used to shape the domes. Tosto was able to produce an engineer’s certification which indicated the home was repairable. After the storm, the family abandoned the Dome Home in its state of disrepair – unfortunately one from which they could not remedy. The History Of Cape Romano. , Cheers Gerardo, thanks for being a regular reader! , Very interesting and informative, thank you! I thought I’d leave a comment to let you know how much I enjoy your articles. And credit to the Lee family for sharing the original pictures, it was quite a sight wasn’t it? We understand their concerns.”. Can’t believe I lived in Florida so many years and never heard of this. “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. They are very well written and always interesting! Cape Romano Dome House. It was as if all the fish and rays living along that part of the Collier County coast decided to hangout in one location. Family property in Gatlinburg, Tennessee would be host to the experiment. Slager lived in the dome home while he built a new dock, upgraded the electrical system, and groomed the grounds with heavy machinery. “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 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. Great job compiling and laying out all the information available about these domes! Thanks Nicko, and that’s a good question. By 2011 the home’s foundation was completely submerged. 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. 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. Search Dallas, Texas real estate for sale or lease. Five miles south of Marco Island near Naples, Florida, six igloo-shaped buildings appear to slowly march into the sea. You got pictures of it new! The stilt homes were constructed in the early 1980s, possibly by Bob Lee, the owner and builder of the Cape Romano Dome House. Be wary of tides which can fluctuate several feet. Here is a little history on the Dome Home (according to Wikipedia and other online articles). Agreed, definitely caught my attention. The walls were foam-filled for insulation and pilings underneath the domes allowed for the free-flow of water during storms. Nice article. 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. One spherical form was larger than the other, acting as a sandwich between which Lee would then pour the concrete. This was friggin’ awesome!!! Construction on the Cape Romano dome home, about 5 miles south of Marco Island, started in 1980 and was completed in 1982. Learn about the history … Backup generators picked up the slack on the cloudiest days of the year. 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. In the mid-1970s Mr. Lee built a prototype of his self-sustaining dome home. In 1980, Lee began constructing the home, which was a white-painted concrete structure. Known as erosion, it’s an exogenic process in which rock or soil is moved from one location to another. See on Google Maps   •    See on Bing Maps. 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. (And you referenced my favorite article of yours – the one about Holland Island! Due to its location, the dome home has fallen victim to several types of erosion, including sea erosion and soil erosion. Texas Tiny Homes | Plan 618, one our most popular selling small house plans is now in full 3D production. Thanks for the article. Loved it, loved it, loved it! 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. 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. Thanks for reading Robyn, and I appreciate the comment. 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. … By 1991 Wendell was no longer satisfying his financial obligations to the property. All rights reserved. The closest boat ramps are Caxambas Pass and Goodland Boating Park, roughly six miles away. There were no sharp corners for the wind to catch on and it would roll right around the structure. As always, delightful and entertaining! The island belongs to a larger group of Ten Thousand Islands. 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. 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. 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. 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. Thanks so much Cynthia. ), Ah, glad to hear you liked that one as well. Such an amazing story, once again. I think it’s builder would be happy. They look like jelly fish now and rather beautiful. The water is amazing. 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. Must’ve been so beautiful to have lived there. Bob’s daughter Janet Maples recalled “My dad thought the corners of rooms were wasted space as were the corners of the ceiling. Caxambas Island, south of Marco Island in Cape Romano, is one of the Ten Thousand Islands of Collier County, Florida. “I’m not trying to be a rebel here, I’m willing to share.” He said. 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. House Architecture. To make the sight even more remarkable, swirling like iridescent tornado clouds around the gathering were millions of shimmering, silver baitfish. 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. Yes. World's Largest Old Car Junkyard: Old Car City U.S.A. A number of legends have sprung up surrounding the origins of the crumbling cluster of domes at the tip of Cape Romano. cover photo courtesy Mila Bridger Photography. 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. He thought the dome ceiling gave the feeling of openness. Dome Home.. I watched the video clip and it’s beautiful! Tak for kommentaren Truels. 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. History. The following year the home was 25 yards offshore, and by 2013 it was sitting in six feet of water. 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. In November of 2009 the Code Enforcement Board of Collier County levied fines of $187,000 for Tosto’s failure to comply. Learn how your comment data is processed. He acknowledges “we’re right in the middle of the Rookery Bay Reserve. 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. © Copyright 2019 WBBH/WZVN (Waterman Broadcasting). These blog’s posts never disappoint. Uncovering the history of the abandoned, forgotten, and unexplained. Wonderful piece! He eventually purchased four adjacent plots of land for his project. Danke für den Kommentar! I did the old school production for the plan 4 years ago. 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. Instead Tosto planned to relocate the domes farther away from the coastline and bring them into compliance with county building codes. Hope came in the form of John Tosto, a Naples resident whose family trust purchased the dome home in 2005 for $300,000. Teens used the domes as a hangout, fishermen used them to cast lines, and graffiti artists treated them like a blank canvas. 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). It caused $29.1 billion in damage and was part of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season which included the disastrous Hurricane Katrina. The new owner had intentions to renovate the home and return it to full functionality. 1. 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. The new link is: https://youtu.be/mpRw3EakqMw. Saved by PhotoKisses. Cape Romano Dome House History. After two years of construction, the Lee family was able to move into the home by 1982. 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. The following year Hurricane Wilma severely damaged the shoreline. 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. “A lot of people use that property down there. Bob Lee was quite a visionary. I guess buildings don’t need to be biodegradable if they can sustain a different type of life. Developed in 1980 by businessman Bob Lee, these eco-homes started as a dome-structure inhabited by Lee and his wife. The Dome Homes are one of the main attractions for visitors to the area. Learn the history behind the world-famous Cape Romano Dome House. . I bet it was interesting! View MLS photos, sales history, and use our real estate filters to find the perfect home with VIP Realty. 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. 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. Code Enforcement Director Dianne Flagg told John Tosto the fines could be retroactively waived with compliance of the original 2007 order. Looks like it was quite a nice home to begin with. Would you mind if I included it in the post, with attribution to you of course? Would be interested to know what he did next. Hi Robb, No worries, I updated your first post for you. Another excellent article! Unbelievable and actually talked to the original family? . Now, everyone comes from all over just to see them. Read about the history of the dome house before taking the boat trip. I’ve read almost all of them. • According to Everglades matriarch Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Cape Romano was named for British surveyor Bernard Roman who sailed by it in 1775. The Cape Romano Dome House is not technically on Marco Island, Florida. VHF radios are recommended; cell phone service is not reliable in the area. It was the 1960s when Bob Lee (pictured at right) began inventing things for his homes. They have a fascinating and bizarre history. The Cape Romano homes are no more extra terrestrial than the alien-looking fish swimming around them today in the waters. “[It was] the best time of my life. by NBC2 ... see the world-famous Cape Romano Domes built by a man in 1979. Geodesic domes, monolithic domes, and other dome homes still return to the real estate market and can frequently be found on Estately. Magic. The gutters collected the precipitation into a 23,000 gallon cistern stored underneath the home. ... and the interesting dome-like structures of Cape Romano. • 2005’s Hurricane Wilma was the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic basin, and a direct hit on Cape Romano. They eventually sold the home, and the domes now … Lee’s family offer several reasons for this choice: A round roof smoothed the home’s profile and minimized wind interference. That was it.”. Why domes? Vexing architecture. Bob had made his fortunes early in oil production and retired at age 44. 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. Great stuff. • The dome home was valued at $1.5M in 1980, but by 2007 had a value of just $300k. It was a home at one time on Kice Island (Cape Romano). It is a fascinating read. If Tosto was going to save Bob Lee’s masterpiece, he would not have the cooperation of the weather. Copyright © 2020 Waterman Broadcasting of Florida, LLC, Learn the history behind the world-famous Cape Romano Dome House. I’m sorry, I forgot to update it. For Marco Island, Florida current local news and the latest headlines from Marco Island, Naples and Southwest Florida read Coastal Breeze News. 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. . Thanks! For the next two years progress was hindered by a failure to obtain permits in time between nesting seasons. Some … 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. Well, it used to be a house — made of six interconnecting domes, built by former oil producer Bob Lee. It was a house unlike anything else at the time, built to be almost completely self-sustaining. 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. Since then, two of the six domes … It is on the next Island down called Ten Thousand Island, which is only accessible via water. Over several years Bob honed his craft and learned from his mistakes. It was once the site of a beautiful domed house built in 1980, by retired oil producer Bob Lee. Aware of the sun’s potential for energy, he strategically placed skylights in rooms to maximize heat and light. Saved from coastalbreezenews.com. “It’s just something I wanted from the first time I saw it. On a positive note, Bob Lee’s dome home has fostered an ecosystem offshore as an artificial reef. . • Cape Romano was first settled by Native Americans around 5,000 BC. With the deed still in the name of the Lees, the Dome Home returned to Bob and his family after foreclosure. 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. 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. Wonderful, as always! The iconic Cape Romano dome home near Marco Island has enticed tourists for decades. Shortly after he purchased the dome home, Hurricane Wilma pummeled Cape Romano and altered the fragile islet’s coastline with 150-mph winds. 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