A Crossville, TN (US) minister named Horace Burgess owns the largest tree house in the world. It rises 97 feet into the sky, the support provided by a live, 80-foot-tall white oak 12 feet in diameter at its base. Six other trees brace the tower-like fortress. It has some 80+ rooms and dozens of porches, overlooks, nooks and stairways. Built from scrap wood, the site stands in a rural area, but is attracting people from all over the country.
As he tells the story, in 1993, Horace Burgess was praying when god told him, “If you build a tree house, I’ll see that you never run out of material.” A self-taught carpenter and landscape architect, he has worked almost constantly on the structure since then and he's not finished yet. For fourteen years, Minister Burgess has been adding to the tree house using recycled pieces of lumber from garages, storage sheds and barns.
The tree house has 10 floors, averaging nine to 11 feet in height and measures between 8,000 to 10,000 square feet. It is topped by a chime tower weighing 5,700 pounds equipped with 10 oxygen acetylene bottles repurposed as bells.
A homemade sign reads: "Welcome friends." Approximately 400 to 500 folks visit weekly, most of them from out of state and most of them by word of mouth.
Horace Burgess’s tree house is soon going to enter the Guinness book of records, but before that Burgess will have to provide measurements of every inch of the tree house, a daunting task that he'll likely accomplish with the assistance of his friends who have volunteered many hours on the project. Burgess has also vowed to build additions to the ramshackle structure if he is ever in danger of losing that title.
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