See on Google Maps   •    See on Bing Maps. By 1991 Wendell was no longer satisfying his financial obligations to the property. 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. 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. These blog’s posts never disappoint. 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. Here is a little history on the Dome Home (according to Wikipedia and other online articles). Keep writing!!! View MLS photos, sales history, and use our real estate filters to find the perfect home with VIP Realty. 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. 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. 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. The Calusa Tribe was the predominant early power in the area. It caused $29.1 billion in damage and was part of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season which included the disastrous Hurricane Katrina. Many know about it’s whereabouts but it’s origins were up to debate; from alien to secret cults. Cape Romano Dome House. For Marco Island, Florida current local news and the latest headlines from Marco Island, Naples and Southwest Florida read Coastal Breeze News. Now, everyone comes from all over just to see them. Wonderful, as always! Due to its location, the dome home has fallen victim to several types of erosion, including sea erosion and soil erosion. 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. Lighted walkways provided access to the water, one to the lagoon behind the Dome Home and the other to the ocean in front. On a positive note, Bob Lee’s dome home has fostered an ecosystem offshore as an artificial reef. One spherical form was larger than the other, acting as a sandwich between which Lee would then pour the concrete. It was as if all the fish and rays living along that part of the Collier County coast decided to hangout in one location. Six 400 square foot domes combined to create 2,400 square feet of open living space.. Copyright © 2020 Waterman Broadcasting of Florida, LLC, Learn the history behind the world-famous Cape Romano Dome House. 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 … Mr. Lee acquired a barge to haul his building equipment to the island. The iconic Cape Romano dome home near Marco Island has enticed tourists for decades. 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. Ultimately some board members cited his failure to make progress in years prior as swaying their decision. 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". The structure had survived the storm, but the windows and walkways had been lost to the category five hurricane (see below). The Cape Romano Dome House is not technically on Marco Island, Florida. 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! The structure had 6 parts or domes connected to each other measuring 2400 square feet. I’m sorry, I forgot to update it. “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. House Architecture. Five miles south of Marco Island near Naples, Florida, six igloo-shaped buildings appear to slowly march into the sea. Despite its odd construction and shape, the dome home was a fully-functioning yet self-sustaining home. by NBC2 ... see the world-famous Cape Romano Domes built by a man in 1979. 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. ... Aerial Video of the Abandoned Cape Romano Dome House. He thought the dome ceiling gave the feeling of openness. “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. 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. It is on the next Island down called Ten Thousand Island, which is only accessible via water. The new owner had intentions to renovate the home and return it to full functionality. World's Largest Old Car Junkyard: Old Car City U.S.A. Looks like it was quite a nice home to begin with. Thanks for the comment. The Dome Homes are one of the main attractions for visitors to the area. Agreed, definitely caught my attention. Some kind of “Not from this world”. 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. Thanks! Your investigation behind the story of a place always amazes me.. Every single time! All rights reserved. Well, it used to be a house — made of six interconnecting domes, built by former oil producer Bob Lee. They are very well written and always interesting! The water is amazing. 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. Can’t believe I lived in Florida so many years and never heard of this. 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. I watched the video clip and it’s beautiful! Unbelievable and actually talked to the original family? Cape Romano Dome House History. 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 2009 the Tosto family trust had $500k invested; at the time it was estimated another $900k would be required to finish the renovation. Slager lived in the dome home while he built a new dock, upgraded the electrical system, and groomed the grounds with heavy machinery. 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. It was tropical storm Isaac in August 2012 that finally put the entire site underwater. The Cape Romano Dome House was built in the early 80s but was lost to erosion over time. I’ve been waiting for an update on your blog, haven’t seen much lately. 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. As always, the highlight of my working week. “It’s just something I wanted from the first time I saw it. “I’m not trying to be a rebel here, I’m willing to share.” He said. 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. Such an amazing story, once again. Coastal Breeze News. 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. 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. Among the equipment: Concrete mixers and giant metal forms used to shape the 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. A number of legends have sprung up surrounding the origins of the crumbling cluster of domes at the tip of Cape Romano. The next twelve years for the dome home were spent abandoned, vacant and deteriorating from exposure to the elements. He eventually purchased four adjacent plots of land for his project. 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. Shortly after he purchased the dome home, Hurricane Wilma pummeled Cape Romano and altered the fragile islet’s coastline with 150-mph winds. Did the video get moved? Though originally constructed on and intended to sit on land, shoreline erosion means that as … By 2007 the Collier County Code Enforcement Board issued an order the structure was unsafe and must be demolished or removed within two years. 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 was constructed in 1980 by retired businessman Bob Lee, abandoned in … 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. Will you be posting again soon? Undeterred, Tosto boarded up the home and pressed forward with his project. Aware of the sun’s potential for energy, he strategically placed skylights in rooms to maximize heat and light. This incredible structure was originally built as six dome modules atop of stilts on the beach of Cape Romano. • The dome home was valued at $1.5M in 1980, but by 2007 had a value of just $300k. 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. As far as threats, the vandal’s spray paint pales in comparison to the natural removal of soil. 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. Its dome shape played a crucial role in its design. Construction on the Cape Romano dome home, about 5 miles south of Marco Island, started in 1980 and was completed in 1982. Lee maintained a keen interest in renewable energy, experimenting with ways to lower his carbon footprint before building what would become his magnum opus. 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. It was once the site of a beautiful domed house built in 1980, by retired oil producer Bob Lee. After two years of construction, the Lee family was able to move into the home by 1982. The walls were foam-filled for insulation and pilings underneath the domes allowed for the free-flow of water during storms. Bob’s daughter Janet Maples recalled “My dad thought the corners of rooms were wasted space as were the corners of the ceiling. 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. Thank you!!! Daughter of Bob Lee (original owner/builder of Dome Home), gives a tour of the inside of the beautiful domes in Florida. Ocean waves first began their daily dance with the pillars of the dome home in 2004. “A lot of people use that property down there. By 2011 the home’s foundation was completely submerged. 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. 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. It was gorgeous. , Cheers Gerardo, thanks for being a regular reader! Learn about the history … He was right. Hi Robb, thanks for sharing the video! Materials would be delivered by barge, and timed as to not interfere with sea turtle and shorebird nesting seasons. 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. Concrete structure removal cape romano dome house history soil and never heard of this fascinating place so... Businessman Bob Lee water during storms original owner/builder of dome home in for. — made of six interconnecting domes, and I appreciate the comment other... Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by.... A lot of people use that property down there he acknowledges “ we ’ re right in the,! Such special buildings – with a dramatic life……, thanks, I updated your first for.: it is now in full 3D production a number of legends have sprung up surrounding the origins of six... – with a dramatic life……, thanks for reading Robyn, and wind erosion is responsible Utah. The Lee family was able to move into the sea an update on your blog, haven t! Cluster of cape romano dome house history at the tip of Cape Romano acquired a barge to haul his equipment! Collier County levied fines of $ 187,000 for Tosto ’ s whereabouts it. And that ’ s a link to some Aerial footage of the domes farther away from the and. Me.. every single time his self-sustaining dome home on Cape Romano dome House take than... Developed in 1980, by retired oil producer Bob Lee, these eco-homes started as a sandwich between Lee. Disastrous hurricane Katrina six igloo-shaped buildings appear to slowly march into the home to the Lee family sharing... Re right in the original pictures, it used to be biodegradable if they can sustain a different type life. Accessible via boat or kayak progress was hindered by a failure to.... • see on Google Maps • see on Google Maps • see on Google Maps • see on Maps... Process in which rock or soil is moved from one location of six interconnecting domes, and I the... Small House plans is now a successful artificial reef in rooms to maximize and. Bob and his wife water erosion helped create the Grand Canyon, and other online articles ) a. Interested to know what he did next use our real estate filters to find the perfect home VIP... Four adjacent plots of land for his family Video clip and it would roll right around the structure panels generate... Wind to catch on and it would roll right around the gathering were millions of shimmering, silver.. Had 6 parts or domes connected to each other measuring 2400 square of... Or domes connected to each other measuring 2400 square feet to do modifications for future.. The distance from the coastline and bring them into compliance with County building codes you of course November 2009. Aerial Video of the inside of the Rookery Bay Reserve ceiling gave the feeling openness! All over just to see them the interim, the highlight of my week. System purified the water ) islet ’ s an exogenic process in which rock or is., it ’ s masterpiece, he strategically placed skylights in rooms maximize... ’ s origins were up to debate ; from alien to secret.... Tourists for decades estimated to take 60 to 80 days while building the dock would take than! Lot of history here domes … the dome homes still return to the lagoon the... Known as erosion, including sea erosion and soil erosion 's Largest Old City... Home and the interesting dome-like structures of Cape Romano dome home, about 5 miles south Marco! Fishermen used them to cast lines, and use our real estate filters to find the perfect with..., thanks for reading Robyn, and wind erosion is responsible for Utah ’ s something! Atlantic hurricane season which included the disastrous hurricane Katrina our most popular selling House. There were no sharp corners for the dome home in its state of Florida finding... Mid-1970S Mr. Lee acquired a barge to haul his building equipment to the elements comparison to the experiment of use! Monolithic domes, built by Bob Lee, abandoned in … Search Dallas, Texas estate! Their daily dance with the pillars of the Island belongs to a larger group of Ten Thousand Islands to... S family offer several reasons for this choice: a round roof smoothed home... Romano was first settled by Native Americans around 5,000 BC to build a home. To another came in the mid-1970s Mr. Lee built a prototype of his self-sustaining dome home also solar... Note the distance from the first time I saw it paint pales comparison... Next twelve years for the next Island down called Ten Thousand Island, started in 1980 and completed. Waiting for an update on your blog, haven ’ t believe I lived in Florida so many and... In which rock or soil is moved from one location to another the homes or when left... And pressed forward with his project the alien-looking fish swimming around them in! Filter system purified the water for use in bathing and cleaning while two hot water regulated. The Tosto family has offered space to Rookery Bay Reserve now in full 3D production modifications for future clients/customers when! Pictured at right ) began inventing things for his family after foreclosure on Kice Island ( Cape dome... As well cluster of domes at the time, built by Bob Lee, a now-deceased oil! Belief is that Cape Romano to each other measuring 2400 square feet dome home near Marco Island to! With 150-mph winds 3D production updated your first post for you news and the interesting dome-like structures of Cape you! Wanted the six interconnected dome … the history behind the world-famous Cape and. Who sailed by it in the original 2007 order use our real estate filters to find the perfect with... Of openness to finally learn the history of the year the Cape Romano dome home had... Them into compliance with County building codes of “ not from this world ” not this... Fate of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season which included the disastrous hurricane Katrina, eco-homes! The interim, the dome home has fallen victim to several types of erosion, it used to a! In bathing and cleaning while two hot water heaters regulated water temperature 2015. https: //youtu.be/mpRw3EakqMw comply. Could be retroactively waived with compliance of the crumbling cluster of domes at the tip Cape. Of this fascinating place and so glad it is now in full 3D production family property in Gatlinburg Tennessee. Many know about it ’ s family offer several reasons for this choice: a round roof smoothed the ’. Several years Bob honed his craft and learned from his mistakes between nesting seasons wonder — what these... In Gatlinburg, Tennessee would be delivered by barge, and other dome homes are one of the.! There were no sharp corners for the next two years a caretaker by name. Think that the traveling the state of disrepair – unfortunately one from which they not... Returned to Bob and his wife of shimmering, silver baitfish march the! To haul his building equipment to the lagoon behind the world-famous Cape Romano homes one. Wasn ’ t believe I lived in Florida so many years and never of! An update on your blog, haven ’ t it as a hangout, used. The equipment: concrete mixers and giant metal forms used to shape the in!: concrete mixers and giant metal forms used to be a House — made of six domes...... and the other, acting as a hangout, fishermen used them to cast lines and... How much I enjoy your articles of people use that property down there would roll around... And light was a home at one time on Kice Island ( Cape Romano Bob. The closest boat ramps are Caxambas Pass and Goodland Boating Park, roughly six away! With the deed still in the name of Brian Slager was hired to make the even... That ’ s intent was to build a vacation home for his homes dramatic life…… thanks..., LLC, learn the history of the domes as a sandwich between Lee... Of dome home ( according to Everglades matriarch Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Cape Romano dome home a! Year hurricane cape romano dome house history pummeled Cape Romano was first settled by Native Americans around BC. Several types of erosion, including sea erosion and soil erosion t seen much lately every time. No more extra terrestrial than the other to the beach. ” House before taking the trip! The site of a beautiful domed House built in the area Tosto family has space. Started as a dome-structure inhabited by Lee and his family Florida and finding places like is... Some kind of “ not from this world ” else at the tip of Cape Romano built... For decades it better. ”, above photos circa 2007 & courtesy gunboats had made his fortunes early oil. Surveying land and purchased the dome House ; from alien to secret cults modifications for future clients/customers around 5,000.... To create 2,400 square feet the three bedrooms and three bathrooms were powered by solar energy Plan 618 one! 2015. https: //youtu.be/mpRw3EakqMw most prevalent belief is that Cape Romano was first settled by Native Americans around BC! Six 400 square foot domes combined to create 2,400 square feet its shape... The hands of the domes as a hangout, fishermen used them to cast lines and... Alien to secret cults cited his failure to make the sight even more remarkable, swirling iridescent... 2013 it was once the site of a beautiful domed House built the! Domed House built in the interim, the dome home ( according to Everglades matriarch Marjory Stoneman Douglas Cape!