When God told Horace Burgess to build a treehouse, he promised that Burgess would never run out of materials. So far he hasn’t. Using tons of reclaimed wood, Burgess has built a 10 story treehouse in Crossville, Tennessee. Burgess claims it is the world’s largest treehouse and since no one has disputed him yet, his fantastic 100 foot tall structure continues its reign. Known as the Minister’s Treehouse, it should not be confused with the world’s tallest wooden building soon to be built, because its foundation is an 80-foot-tall white oak tree.
The enormous treehouse has 10 floors averaging from 9 to 11 feet high, and although Burgess has never measured it, he estimates the treehouse to be between 8,000 to 10,000 square feet. Built entirely from wood that has been donated or salvaged from from sheds, barns and garages, the structure has taken on it’s own organic feel. Burgess, who is a landscape architect and an ordained minister, has put about $12,000 of his own money into it, spent partially on nails, of which there are approximately 258,000. Other recycled materials like license plates, furniture, roofing material, and plexiglass skylights have also helped fill out the structure.
Inside there are spiral staircases, a sanctuary, a choir loft, a basketball court, and countless rooms, walkways and balconies. For his 11th wedding anniversary, Burgess built his wife a belfry tower, or what he likes to call “the only penthouse in Cumberland County.” Inside the tower are chimes handmade from 10 oxygen acetylene bottles weighing 5,700 pounds. Outside is a garden that Burgess has designed with daffodils, irises, narcissus, gladiolas and wild daisies, which spells out J-E-S-U-S. As Burgess says, “The whole message of the thing is if you come to see the site and climb to the top, you’ll see Jesus in the garden, and the preacher didn’t have to say a word.” He’s still building, though.
Photos by Baking With Medusa