By Coastal Breeze News Staff

In our August 5, 2016 issue, Coastal Breeze News featured a story on the Cape Romano dome homes, haunting structures that are disintegrating and slipping away into the sea. Readers were encouraged to email us their experiences, stories and photos. The response was overwhelming, and we will be sharing these special memories in this, and other upcoming issues.

One of the responses we received was from Mary Nelson, a monitor with the Collier County Sea Turtle Protection Program, who is also known locally as the “Turtle Lady.” Mary told Coastal Breeze News how much she enjoyed reading about the dome home in our last issue, because it brought back “so many memories of my start in the sea turtle

program. And very fond memories of the many trips (two to three times a week 1995-2005) we would take to monitor, mark, and cage sea turtle nests with my volunteers, Sue and John Gerig and my husband Rich.”

When Mary took her first trip to Cape Romano, in 1991, there was about 300 feet of sand and a dock in front of the dome home. She also told us that there were birds and other animals in cages at the nearby stilt house. Her photos from the 1990s offer us another glimpse at a time gone by, and present a stark contrast to the state of deterioration and disrepair the dome homes now suffer. If you have photos or stories about the Cape Romano dome home, please email

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