The ultra-modern Dome House, built in 1981 on Ten Thousand Island south of Marco Island and only accessible by water, is a complex of stilted concrete igloos slowly being reclaimed by the sea.

There are several legends regarding the origins of the collapsing cluster of domes at the tip of Cape Romano. The space-age buildings have been attributed to everything from a hidden cult to aliens, but the truth is that the now-empty concrete bubbles were the brainchild of retired oil producer, Bob Lee. The structures were completed in 1981, and Lee’s original vision was for the unconventional holiday home to be a self-sufficient, eco-friendly retreat for his family.

Among the innovations at the site are the raised units themselves which would be heated by lighting fires among the concrete pylons beneath the rooms, and the dome-shaped roofs which were to direct rainwater into troughs that would then be collected for showering and dishwater.

Even the stormy Florida weather was considered, and the robust, circular domes withstood hurricane winds with little damage. Unfortunately, when the environment on the island’s edge changed, simple erosion eventually rendered the dwellings unlivable.

The sea began to engulf the firm beach on which the domes were built, until the domes were surrounded on all sides by water. They only survive because of the concrete pillars that keep them above the water.

The Dome House was repurchased in 2001, and while the new owner sought to renovate the site, property taxes and exorbitant construction expenses delayed the project to the point where the buildings had little hope of being saved. With no chance of reclamation, the abandoned domes make an excellent setting for both wildlife and wild legends.

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