A cluster of dome-shaped houses jutting
out of the water off Florida's coast have confused and amazed
onlookers for decades. They're a popular destination for tour
boats, but who created them, and why?
Built in 1981, the homes were the vision of oil magnate Bob
Lee, who saw potential for a vacationer's paradise on Cape
Romano in southwest Florida. The igloo-like domes were built
completely out of concrete, helping them survive erosion as
ocean levels rose over the years.
But his vision went further than just a striking aesthetic.
Lee built the homes to be self-sufficient and eco-friendly.
Purchasing a barge, he moved supplies to the island, including
the metal dome frames and concrete. This and other abandoned
properties can be viewed on http://www.abandonedfl.com
The homes feature a drainage system where rain water could
bounce off the domes and into a gutter surrounding them. This
then leads into a cistern under the largest dome. The
collected water by the cistern was used for showers and
dishwashing. Solar panels were also installed to provide free
The Lee family sold the property two years later, and though
it exchanged hands a few times since and was even renovated in
2005, it's now deserted. But the structure stands strong, even
after holding its ground against sinister Gulf Coast storms
like Hurricane Andrew.