In the early 1990s, landscaper Horace Burgess bought some wooded land on the outskirts of Crossville, Tennessee. One of the bigger trees, next to a dirt road, caught his eye. He decided to build the world’s largest tree house in its branches.
After spending a couple of years on the project, he ran out of lumber and enthusiasm.
“Then I turned my life over to God,” Horace recalled. “And the spirit of God said, ‘If you build Me a tree house, I’ll never let you run out of material.'”
Eleven years of labor later, Horace had what he’d originally wanted: the largest tree house in the world. It spreads across not one, but seven big trees that grow through its floors and out of its windows. It soars 100 feet into the sky. Built without blueprints, its dimensions are a mystery even to Horace, who guesses that it covers around 10,000 square feet.
Since Horace stopped new construction in 2004, nearly every square foot of the structure has been vandalized with graffiti, some of it praising God and Jesus (“I don’t know how to take that,” Horace said).
Flooring has been ripped out, windows smashed, furniture hurled from balconies. “I have to remind myself that it is a tree house,” said Horace, who feels that it somehow triggers people to act like horrid eight-year-olds. “That’s why I’ve never prosecuted anyone for bustin’ the stuff up.”