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World’s Largest Treehouse burns down in Crossville

Jack Daniel Primo Grills
The Minister’s Tree House {Image Courtesy of ABC News}

STATE NEWS — An East Tennessee landmark went up in smoke around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday night.

According to Cumberland County Fire officials, the Minister’s Treehouse, located on Beehive Lane – a 100 foot high building made of found wood – burned to the ground in less than 15 minutes.

Built in the early 1990’s by a local landscaper named Horace Burgess, the treehouse included an elaborate design filled with terraces and winding staircases that spanned across seven trees. It’s origin story rings similar to the Noah’s Ark story in The Bible. According to historic records, after setting at goal to build the world’s largest treehouse, Burgess ran out of money and enthusiasm. He told friends and family that he then heard God say, “If you build Me a tree house, I’ll never let you run out of materials.”

Eleven years later the Guiness Book of World Records recognized Burgess’s treehouse as the world’s largest. At the time, it covered over 10,000 square feet. He stopped new construction in 2004. The Tennessee Fire Marshall closed public access to the treehouse in 2012, citing safety concerns.

Burgess recently sold the property and locals said is was slated for demolition by the new owner, Glenn Clark. When asked about how he felt now that the structure that took him over a decade to build was no more, Burgeess told Knoxville news WBIR that he was “okay with it being gone.”

No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is still unknown. Local fire officials stated that there were no electrical fire or storms that night that might have sparked the fire.•

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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