Bridgette Meinhold

World's Tallest Treehouse Built From Reclaimed Wood

by , 10/29/09

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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.

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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.

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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.

Dornob via mydeco

Photos by Baking With Medusa

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20 Comments

  1. RoBeRtRhOdEs November 24, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    I have just made plains to make a dayout with my grandchildren. This is a wonderful work of art.

  2. Jeanne Pauli July 6, 2012 at 12:08 am

    Since Rosy Cheeks knows what the Lord wants, why doesn’t she or he go do it. Put your money where your mouth is Rosy Cheeks.

  3. AlanaRh July 3, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    I wish close minded people would have closed mouths. Directed to Rosy cheeks. God’s gifts are something to be celebrated! Get in there Burgess!

  4. BlueOak June 28, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Oh please – to the folks complaining about the size, it is built out of sustainable materials (wood)… and he didn’t cut down the tree it surrounds. Relax. It’s cool. Enjoy cool things and live longer.

    (But I guess shorter lives would be a good thing since humans trash Earth and Earth certainly does not exist for the benefit of humans.)

  5. tatee November 11, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    My sister who lives in Gainesboro Tn. has just told me about this wonderful tree house. I am planning a visit soon. I cannot wait to see this great work of art. What a statement. Why to go Brother Burges.

  6. mj01 October 2, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    This place is awesome!!!!!!I live within an a hours drive and just found out about it this year. It is an awesome testimony of one mans faith in jesus. If you havent been you need to. awesome!!! and he holds a sevice there on sundays!!! to God be the glory!!!!!!!!!!!!!!great work mr horrace!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. dpcat70 July 24, 2011 at 10:47 am

    I also live near this wonderful tree house and surprisingly the local people don’t know about it as much as those of you that come to visit us. I have taken two people to see it this last week and they were in awe of it also. We were told that there are worship services now being held on Sundays in the cental chapel at 1:00pm. I may go today to be with my friends to who are coming to Crossville today to the service. Anything creatated from a thought or feeling is not a waste of time and this brings many people either to a feeling that might be spiritual or to appreciate the time and love of this creatation made with conviction. Are art museums a waste of time if they give someone pleasure? Are flower gardens a waste of time if gardening or seeing them gives someone pleasure to make or see? A local wood craver who makes figures from tree stumps and logs has made the Lord’s supper with all the disciples and it will find a special home here. John is also working on another scene for the tree house (as the city will no longer allow it on the courthouse lawn even though the majority of the town likes his art work there. Thank you Mr Burgess and John for the art and pleasure you give to so many. Sorry not all see art in creatation.

  8. troydaniel29 June 29, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Actually Mr Burgess has let homeless people stay in this tree house. This is a breathe taking structure. As you are pulling up to it on a gravel road going into a wooded area you look up and see it towering above all of the trees. It made me gasp. I heard is was big but this thing is unbelievable.

  9. glenda February 6, 2011 at 11:36 am

    just watched this on tn cross rds and I think it is wonderful cant wait to make a trip there with my family . god bless you you did a wonderful job

  10. Recycled Suitcases Used... December 8, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    [...] The hotel utilizes solar passive design and features bamboo shades on the south-facing windows. Reclaimed wood from Shanghai is used for flooring, and old bricks from the city are used in the building as well. [...]

  11. kkline4091 September 24, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    I am not someone to care about religion, but it\’s things like this that keep people going. If the world didn\’t waste a shit ton of money on works of art like this our world would be bland. So i don\’t think anybody should be pissed about this because of religion or the fact that there are homeless people out there. I have been homeless for years of my life. If you really want to get out of it you will work your ass off and do so.

  12. Woody June 20, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Hope he is praying for natural, non-toxic termite repellent.

  13. yerbamatte June 17, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Yay! Good for him. It’s nice to see uniqueness, creativity, and diversity. Such things are inspiring and give a spice to life.

  14. World’s Tallest Treeh... June 17, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    [...] a staggering 10 stories high, this treehouse — or more like tree cathedral — is the world’s tallest. The builder, Horace [...]

  15. Save-world February 9, 2010 at 6:13 am

    What happens in case of strong wind?

  16. megmcneal November 11, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    This tree house isn’t very far from where I live, in fact there are lots of people come down my driveway looking for it.. I always tell them it down Bee hive lane. At the very end of the road. It is a great building and just being it in brings a kind of peace to your heart. Mr Burgess has done a great job with this. We get people from all over the world trying to find it. If you get a chance when going through cumberland county TN on I-40 take a little side trip and stop in to see it. It is off Exit 320.

  17. Beverly Vasche November 4, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Thinkinf of creating an envirment. The trees are 320 ft high approx The is a half acrea area , water disposition,township, no taxes and the owners are broke. There ar 5 of us who have the thought of spiroling down with walk ways to the ground. The trees are about 50 or more arount and very old in the mountains with good road access and place for off street parking. The thought would be the only expence would be buildind and solar and radiated heat. The water is there. In this way one might survive retirement. I am planing now. The thought is to ask for any current suggestions. Beverly Vasche P.O.box 112608,campbell,ca 95011

  18. pangaea-id.com November 4, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    I think I would like the tree to be the star. This seems to completely overwhelm the trees.

  19. Leandra Carneiro November 3, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Whatever, it’s beautiful anyway!

  20. RosyCheeks November 2, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Did his god tell him that he is acting selfishly with this monstrosity? Does the minister house the homeless / orphans / etc. in this place? He could have used the resources more appropriately and made smaller dwellings at ground level for those in need. It looks like the landscape architect (I’d like to see his portfolio) needs to come back down to earth and get real. Because this thing, well, it just isn’t.

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