The mysterious white domes rising out of the water in Cape Romano are eerily beautiful memorials of the past. Today they are sinking into the ocean, growing barnacles and becoming a manmade reef for the colorful marine life.
The domes are clustered in Cape Romano near Naples, FL. They are often visited by curious travelers who are intrigued by the sight of the partially submerged domes. Sightseers snap photos, puzzled by the unique structures.
Legends have been told over the years about what exactly these domes mean. Theories about who built these structures have ranged anywhere from cults to aliens.
The truth is, they are the remnants of abandoned vacation homes.
Bob Lee, the original owner and builder of the domes, built them as one vacation home in 1981, according to Atlas Obscura. Lee built the home to be eco-friendly, and it certainly is now as marine life become the newest occupants in these sinking structures. He chose the dome shape to wash away rainwater, according to Coastal Breeze.
The domes were unusual, forward-thinking structures for their time in the 80s. Today, hollowed by time and the churning ocean, the domes convey both the abandonment of the past and the strangeness of the future.
For Lee's daughter Janet Maples, these domes were a childhood vacation home.
“I can remember one time, we went to the drug store on Marco and some people in the row behind me were saying, ‘Have you been by those dome houses?’ And the other one said, ‘Yeah, but I hear they guard that with machine guns!’ Somehow it got a reputation of being a scary place,” Maples told Coastal Breeze.
In reality, the domes are harmless testaments to a different time. The domes used to make up the same home, but have since drifted apart. They now sit in a cluster, determined to remain together even as they collapse one by one into the sea.
Visit the Cape Romano domes before they sink! Be wary that these structures are collapsing, so it is best to view them at a safe distance.
For vintage photos of the domes as vacation homes, go here.
We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.