Concrete Dome Home In Florida – Cape Romano History in 2024

dome home

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a dome home on the coast of Florida?

The history of Cape Romano’s and this style of infrastructure is interesting, full of fascinating stories and surprises.

This article will explore this unique set of structures, giving readers insight into their past and present.

Overview Of The Dome Home Phenomenon

These types of homes have been a growing trend in recent years, with many homeowners seeking to construct more sustainable living spaces.

Dome architecture has existed for centuries, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that dome homes began to be built on a larger scale.

The most famous example of this phenomenon is the Cape Romano off the coast of Southwest Florida.

Built in 1981 by Bob Lee, these six domes were constructed to withstand hurricane-force winds and serve as a vacation getaway.

The five white concrete domes that used to be visible were remnants of Hurricane Andrew’s destruction in 1992, which destroyed two of the original structures and damaged four others.

Rather than rebuild them, Bob Lee decided to relocate further inland due to fear of future storms like Hurricane Ian just weeks later.

Today, visitors can still access the area of the domes via boat or kayak from Marco Island – a stark reminder of both the power and beauty nature has over us all.

The Story Behind Cape Romano’s Unique Structure

cape romano

The Cape Romano Dome House is an impressive structure and its story is equally fascinating.

It all began in 1981 when Bob Lee, a retired oil producer from Texas, decided to build his dream retirement home on the Florida coast near Marco Island. He commissioned John Tosto to design this unique concrete dome housewhich would shield him and his family from dangerous storms.

Unfortunately, disaster struck in 2017 when Hurricane Irma swept through Southwest Florida, damaging much of the coastline including this unique home.

However, despite the storm’s destruction, it failed to demolish the unique home; a testament to its strength and durability.

This remarkable feat has solidified its once iconic status, being one of Southwest Florida’s most beloved landmarks in years past.

The Construction Of Cape Romano

It’s contruction began in 1981 when Bob Lee, a retired oil executive from Houston, Texas, decided to build his dream home near Naples, Florida.

He hired three local contractors and had them construct six massive concrete domes that would be connected by walkways.

The dome shells were constructed on-site with the help of a barge and placed over an old coral reef.

Lee’s vision for the house was realized thanks to its unique design which allowed it to withstand hurricanes that frequently hit the Gulf Coast region.

Over time, however, erosion caused much of the structure to fall into the ocean.

The Impact Of Hurricanes

hurricane season

In 2005, Hurricane Ian hit the Florida coast, resulting in a storm surge that caused severe damage to the Cape Romano.

The six dome homes built on stilts as vacation homes could not withstand the hurricane’s powerful waves and winds, and were destroyed during its passage.

The eroded shoreline also further damaged what remained of the structures that had been built to survive.

The effects of Hurricane Andrew too left an indelible mark on Cape Romano, which once stood proudly as a testament to ingenuity and resilience.

Since then, there have been several attempts at restoring some form of life back into this community but ultimately they all failed due to ongoing erosion issues causing destruction each time a major storm hits the area.

It is likely that the former residents who called it home will never be able to return or recreate their past memories here again.

The Legacy Of Bob Lee’s Vision

Bob Lee’s vision for Cape Romano endured long after he died in 2007. His grandson, John Tosto, took up the cause of preserving this monolithic dome and its marine life environment.

Through his efforts, he got the home listed on Florida State Historic Markers list in 2020. In addition, a petition with over 3,000 signatures to preserve it as a historical landmark was presented to Collier County officials.

John Tosto continues to honor Bob Lee’s legacy by working diligently to ensure that the home is protected from destruction and that its surrounding environment remains safe and intact. He works closely with local fishing clubs and other non-profit organizations to help promote awareness about protecting species, such as sea turtles and manatees found nearby.

Furthermore, he used to regularly give tours, educating people about its unique history and inspiring them to protect our natural resources. Due to John Tosto’s ongoing dedication, we can enjoy this piece of Florida history today – an enduring reminder of Bob Lee’s grand dream come true.

Final Thoughts

boy with helmet

The dome home at Cape Romano has become an iconic structure in Florida. Its unique design and remarkable resilience have made it a source of fascination for locals, tourists and even scientists alike.

Some believe that this style of home was built with future hurricanes in mind, but there’s no definitive proof to back up this theory. What is certain, though, is Bob Lee’s ambition to create an innovative form of housing was realized with his home construction.

Hurricane Ian may have damaged them badly, but they still stand today. They’re a testament to the long-lasting legacy of his vision. Over 30 years since Bob Lee first began building his dream home on the beach near Marco Island.

His story inspires all those striving to push boundaries and make their mark on the world.

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