The Minister’s Treehouse

In the early 1990s, a man named Horace Burgess bought a plot of land in Crossville, Tennessee on Beehive Lane with a beautiful 80 foot tall tree on it. The base of the tree was 12 foot in diameter and was surrounded by other mature oak trees.

Then, one night, Horace heard the voice of God telling him to build a treehouse. He said an image came to him like a vision. God told Horace that he’d make sure that there would always be enough materials.

Horace started building in 1993. By 2012, the structure was 97 foot tall and approximately 10,000 square feet, supported by 7 oak trees.

Along the way, Horace became a minister, while building the treehouse and working full time as a landscaper. He’s often said that had he known the treehouse was going to be this big, he’d have tried to talk God out of it.

The structure had more than 80 rooms. There was a crow’s nest and bell tower that housed a bell weighing half a ton. From the crow’s nest, you could see into Horace’s personal gardens where hedges spell out “JESUS.”

The layout of the structure was difficult to decipher once in the building. There were crawl spaces from one floor to another and hidden passages to others. People could be heard asking others how they got the the next floor. The response being, “I don’t really know.”

There was also a 5 story opening in the floor where Horace intended to put, but never installed, an elevator.

In the top floor, there was a honeymoon suite. An anniversary gift from Burgess to his wife. The suite had a balcony and a jacuzzi tub.

At the center of the building was a large open space used for church services and weddings. The room contained pews and a pulpit. There was also a basketball hoop on the wall.

All in all, Horace spent approximately $12,000 on his creation.

The structure was cited as the World’s Largest Treehouse and was attracting around 100 visitors a day.

In August 2012, the Fire Marshall closed the structure to the public due to safety concerns. Burgess argued that there are no building codes for treehouses and there was a petition on change.org to reopen the structure to visitors. The Fire Marshall has stated that he would be willing to work with Burgess to reopen the attraction, but he would need to hire an engineer to bring the building to code. He would also need to install fire sprinklers.

Despite a No Trespassing sign, people continue to sneak on the property and into the treehouse. It has fallen into disrepair and was covered in graffiti. Windows have been busted out and furniture destroyed. Burgess said that the treehouse belongs to God. God keeps the people safe in the building and that’s why Burgess said he has never filed charges on anyone for trespassing or vandalism.

The property was listed for sale in March 2018. The asking price for the treehouse and the land it is on was $1.5 million.

A video summary of this week’s post can be found at

Sources/Photo Credits

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