By Leah Frye
Nancy Moore moved from Kentuckey to Illinois, then to Red Rocks commune, in 1970, at age 27. When she moved, she brought along only four things: her son, Jason, Mini-Poo dry shampoo, an auto-harp, and disposable diapers. There were 15 other people there who had bought 240 acres at $100 per acre. They were building a dome on the land – a dome that was, at the time, the world’s largest residential, amateur-made geodesic dome. It was 60 ft wide and 30 ft high. When she arrived, the residents were just starting to build the dome. The frame was already built, and they were just beginning the process of covering it. They started covering it from the top, which was a very big mistake. That night it snowed and the weight of the snow broke the bottom struts. Everyone had to get up in the middle of the night, attached a come-along, and pulled it back together and re-strapped the struts to fix it. Then they started skinning it from the top.
In 1970, Nancy was the 16th person to be there, and Jason was the first child to be there. “I think he was the first child some of the had ever seen!” Nancy told me. In January, after the dome was covered, another baby was born. Another room had been with a heater in it for the birth of the baby. The dome had two wood-burning stoves in it, but it was so huge it would be freezing in the mornings. A balcony was built way up high inside the dome so people could be where the heat was. It was built in a semi-circle around the dome and sectioned off for couples. Some people stayed in tents and tee-pees outside, and some had their own little rooms built. “I never stayed in a tee-pee and I never plan to”, Nancy explained to me.
In the first winter after the dome was completed, there were 20 grownups, 4 dogs, 4 kids and no insulation. By the end of the winter none of the couples were still together; it was very hard in the cold winter living in such close quarters. Later Nancy decided to move from the dome and build her own house, which is part of what she’s living in now.
Nancy says her best memories of the dome were the years they had a valley-wide Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone in the valley came, plus people from other states. There were about 150 – 200 people there. They had a huge eight-foot table with a lazy susan in the middle of it for serving food. The dome was the only place in the valley big enough to hold so many people. They had a huge kitchen and serving area. To cook the biggest turkey they could find, they took turns stoking the wood stove all night. This event was the highlight of the year, and a great chance to visit with all the neighbors from AAA, Libre, Ortivez Farm, Gardner, Farasita, and beyond.
Later they built a stage and theater seating in the dome. This was the site of dances, cabarets, and fancy chicken cordon bleu dinners. They had music extravaganzas including “Saturday Night Fever”. They performed plays such as Vonnegut’s “Happy Birthday, Wanda June”, and took it on town in a school bus to Taos and Pueblo’s Sangre de Cristo Arts Center stage. A Pueblo troop brought plays to the dome to perform, including Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew”.
Gradually, everyone moved from the dome back to the cities from whence they came and the huge dome was left there. It started deteriorating very quickly without anyone there to maintain it. Tom Grow came to take down the dome, piece by piece all by himself. The house that Nancy moved to was in view of the dome, and she sat in her hammock and watched her previous home taken down. Although the dome no longer is there, it will always hold a special place in her heart.