The Minister’s Tree House

Seeing how it’s Easter Sunday, we figure it might be a good idea to go to church. What better church can you find in Crossville, Tennessee than one that was created by a minister heeding to a vision from the spirit of God?!?!?!

The treehouse began as a “Staircase to Nowhere”, and evolved into what is now known as the tallest tree house in the world!

*Disclaimer – We do not advocate trespassing. In doing so, you may get caught, fined, and/or thrown in jail!* 👮

You can’t have Easter without a trip from the Easter bunny! 🐰🐇


With our stomachs satisfied, we approach the gate barring our approach to the treehouse.

Greetings from the blockade are filled with messages such as: “No Trespassing”      “Not Safe”      “Go Home”      “$350 Fine


Glancing over the fence, we clearly see this is no ordinary treehouse!


Back in it’s prime, this treehouse would see as many as 100 visitor each day!

In 2012, the house is now too unsafe for visitors and the Fire Marshall closes the property indefinitely. ☹

Passing the Gate

We are not happy with only the gate view…

It’s worth fines and imprisonment to get a closer look at the wonders of this sizable sanctuary, right?


Are we really willing to risk that? Should we just crawl over and get back in the van?


Oh no! Onward!

If you live your life afraid of risks, you miss out on  thrilling adventures (and avoid prison).

Time to live precariously and EXPLORE!


Approaching the front of the house, we are in awe of the size of this behemoth!!


In 1993, a vision from God moves Horace Burgess to build a large tree house church.

Burgess claims, “The spirit of God said, ‘If you’ll build me a treehouse, I’ll never let you run out of material.'”


He further compares the vision to that of Noah, but claims Noah had the advantage of a blueprint!


This large 8,000-10,000 square-foot treehouse is supported by six trees and boasts 80 rooms!


Entering the Church

It’s time for us to test this structure’s sturdiness and climb the dark staircases to the next level.


Each creak below our feet reminds us that we are not only risking fines and imprisonment, but also our lives! 😮


Using mostly recycled wood and material, Burgess was able to build this masterpiece for under $14,000.


The Sanctuary

Toward the middle of the treehouse is a large sanctuary filled with biblical wooden sculptures.

Burgess would give impromptu sermons and claims to have overseen 12 weddings inside this sanctuary!


A cross with a purple sash occupies the large open space.


There is never a shortage of unique artwork!



The roof is transparent, allowing the natural light of the sky to illuminate the sanctuary.

Burgess is also a huge proponent of fitness and installed a basketball hoop in the sanctuary for ballin’ between the meditation and services.


Scattered on the walls are a couple picture frames loaded with exciting collages of the past.




Right off the sanctuary is a table that once may have been used for guests to sit around and dine together.


Building this mansion, Burgess had many dreams that were never fulfilled.

One of which to bring power and plumbing into the church, as well as heating during winter months.


Time to push our luck and go further up the crickety stairwells!


Climbing higher offers a view from behind the pews looking down into the sanctuary.


Looks like some hoodlums still have a good time here throwing furniture from the upper floors, stranding it on the branches below.


This looks like this was once a nice nook to relax in and peer out over the once nicely manicured garden.


In one of the upper portions of the lofts we find this collections of wooden sculptures.

How they achieve lifting these large heavy stumps up all this way boggles our minds.


Sadly, some of them have succumb to the treachery of time and barbarians.


Some of the detail is stunning!


In one of the upper rooms, we see a fireplace. Was someone living here at one point?


A bathtub on the roof?

We investigating this we find this is what Burgess calls the “Honeymoon Suite”, building it for his wife on their anniversary.


It also provides us a look at how much further we have to go to get to the top.


Determined minds keep us delicately treading up several more flights of stairs to the top.

We’re on Top of the World!!

Well….. we feel like it!


We’re finally here and quite proud of our accomplishment.


Climbing one more ladder leads to the attic and……..


A bell tower!

Not just any bell tower, but one made of oxygen acetylene bottles, that once chimed daily.


After several minutes gazing upon the fields below us, we decide it’s time to head back down.


Not wanting to retrace our steps, we take the original “Staircase to Nowhere”, that now leads somewhere.


Exploring the Grounds

As neat as it is exploring the treehouse, we’re happy to be on the ground without falling through any boards.


Walking around the perimeter, we see there are still signs of what used to be.


There was once a lawn chair used as a swing, but it’s now in shambles.
All that’s left is this rope with a rectangular metal object.

As tempting as it is to test it out, we don’t want to be responsible for the demise of this massive tree house.


Even with a family and a job, Burgess was able to build this massive masterpiece in roughly 14 years.

He keeps himself busy continuing to work as a landscaper.


Reaching 97 feet high, you cannot help feel impressed with the divine ingenuity Burgess possessed.



Surrounded by the barren trees, we can’t help feel a spooky vibe omitting from the lifeless, deteriorating church.


Adding this sweet filter, makes it even more so!

Spooky House

Reflecting on Burgess’ masterpiece, it’s dispiriting to see and feel the many dreams Burgess once had, now left in shambles.


Joists for the ceilings and floors are rotting and cracking….


Windows are shattered, wooden sculptures defaced, and vandalism saturates the walls.

As much as the community tries to keep this dream alive, it seems that they have too many obstacles to make it happen.


Not everyone may want to risk breaking the law to view an old decomposing treehouse, but we are sure glad we did!

It’s not until we’re driving away that we learn the cops and neighbors DO watch this place closely. As one of the reviews stated, “If caught you will be arrested and banished from visiting that town!”

Fortunately, no handcuffs for us! 🤗

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