Traveling along U.S. Highway 395 into the town of Cartago, travelers can’t help but notice a yellow dome with several cacti and a dinosaur in its front yard.
Those who have stopped to see the yellow dome, have had various names for the unique looking one-room house, such as the dinosaur dome, Spongebob’s house, and the lemon house, said owner Vernon Lawson.
Several months ago, the iconic property was listed on the market for $325,000. The yellow dome is approximately 330 square feet, featuring one-room with no facilities, but, and here’s the catch, the property includes not only the dome but four motel units.
According to Lawson, he built the yellow dome himself in 2009,. It took three weeks to complete. The materials of the dome were originally purchased from Vandenburg Air Force Base and were used for a doppler radar, said Lawson. Vernon purchased the dome in pieces from the bar/cafe owner – located on the same side of the highway.
Vernon’s initial purpose for the yellow dome was to run a business and sell jerky or snacks, but when Lawson’s parents moved away it became hard to maintain a business by himself – it never opened, but it was something unique, he said.
The features of the yellow dome are: the twelve window transom on the top, and directly under the satellite dish are four oval windows flanking the front door, said Lawson. and the three sets of four oval windows in the lower portion of the dome, said Lawson. The yellow color of the dome is 1997 Genster Yellow, like the Volkswagen car color.
Editor’s note: According to homeadvancement.com, a transom window “is a horizontal window above a door or above another set of windows. Often used in conjunction with a transom window, sidelights are narrow windows, usually non-operable, that flank doorways or other areas where additional light and design flair are desired. Transom windows, in particular, are often used to accentuate vaulted ceilings.”
The ant and dinosaur were made by George Green of Bakersfield and the cactus was designed by Lawson.
The cactus and the ant were made by a welder named Gil Robbins in Bakersfield.
The dinosaur was whole, it was disassembled, brought to Cartago, then reassembled, said Lawson. Green told Lawson “there is a second use for everything.” Lawson said the cactus in front lights up at night.
Fun fact: Vernon and Mary Lawson, Vernon parents, lived next door to Nan Hatfield, owner of the motel that was once called The Sportsman’s Lodge. According to Lawson, Nan Hatfield used to be a Marriott, a relation to the owners of the actual Marriott hotels.