Horace Burgess’ Treehouse, also known as the Minster’s Treehouse, was a treehouse and church in Crossville, Tennessee. Construction of treehouse began in 1993. It was abandoned in 2012 and burned to the ground in October 2019.
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. The owner, Horace Burgess claims that God personally gave him the contract to build the house. Burgess claimed that god had told him, “If you build a treehouse, I’ll see that you never run out of material,” and soon people began bringing him scrap lumber to build the elaborate structure atop an 80-foot-tall oak tree.
Over the next two decades, the attraction known as the Minister’s Treehouse was built with rough lumber, much of it donated by the community. The house was supported by an 80-foot white oak tree and stretched up to five stories to include 80 rooms, including classrooms, bedrooms, and a kitchen. The Minister’s Treehouse quickly became a tourist destination and was regularly used for church services.
After being open for a long time the Horace Burgess Treehouse has been closed in 2012 by the Fire Marshalls because it violates the local fire code. The state noted that it was 60 feet over code, did not have a fire alarm or sprinkler system and was not designed by a licensed architect.
The towering Horace Burgess Treehouse that once captured the imagination and attention of East Tennesseans and tourists no longer stands after a fire suddenly claimed it overnight. The Horace Burgess Treehouse was recently been purchased by a new owner, Glenn Clark, who said earlier this month he wouldn’t tear it down. Because of its unique construction and its unofficial status as the world’s largest treehouse, Burgess’ wooden contraption still is a tourist destination.