September 22, 2020

Nelson Rockefeller’s Caribbean dome home for sale


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B9315744439Z.1_20150108131205_000_G9R9JG53D.1-0 B9315744439Z.1_20150108131205_000_G9R9JG527.1-0 B9315744439Z.1_20150108131205_000_GI19JILU1.1-0By Bill Cary From Iohud The Journal News

Modern Caribbean retreat was a gift for his bride, Happy; for sale for $1.499 million.

When they weren’t in residence at their manse at Kykuit, in Pocantico Hills, Nelson Rockefeller and his wife, Happy, adored their time in the sun at their specially designed dome home on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Unlike the stately, rather overbearing style of Kykuit, their island retreat was light, bright and delightfully modern. It featured 24-foot ceilings and 360-degree views of the Caribbean waters and rolling green hills of the island surrounding the house.

The dome home, which sits just outside Christiansted, was recently updated and is now on the market, priced at $1.499 million, according to

A third-generation member of the famed family, Nelson Rockefeller was the governor of New York from 1959 to 1973 and U.S. vice president under President Gerald Ford from 1974 to 1977.

After his divorce in 1962 from his wife of 32 years, Mary Todhunter Clark, Rockefeller married Margaretta Large “Happy” Fitler in 1963. While sailing in the Virgin Islands, he spotted an ideal piece of land on St. Croix on a bluff overlooking the Caribbean. Nelson bought the land, built a house and gave it as a gift to his new bride, according to TopTenRealEstateDeals website.

Rockefeller designed the 4,500-square-foot home as a monolithic dome that was energy efficient, cost effective and easy to maintain, with floors finished in limestone tiles throughout the structure. To keep it safe from hurricanes and other storms, the dome was constructed of steel-reinforced concrete.

A huge 24-foot Lexan domed center skylight allows natural light to flood the entire structure and makes possible a tropical indoor garden with a rock waterfall in the large living area. The Rockefeller home has five bedrooms and four baths.

The roof design allows for rainwater to be channeled directly into the cistern and the two-panel, micro-inverter solar panel system generates two kilowatts of power each month, making the home’s electrical bill negligible. The house remains naturally cool due to the insulation, and the mahogany framed doors circling the home capture the breeze for cross ventilation.


003 Great Room Kitchen & Pool .jpg (Photo: Genelle Brown/TopTenRealEstate)

New York Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller and his wife, Happy, and children on the grounds of Kykuit in Pocantico Hills in 1968.(Photo: AP file photo)

The Rockefeller dome home, which sits just outside of Christiansted on the island of St. Croix, is light, bright and delightfully modern.(Photo: Genelle Brown/TopTenRealEstate)

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