One of my favorite things to do when I was a kid was hang out in a neighbor friend's treehouse. Actually, it was a complex of treehouses; there were three trees and you could go back and forth between all of them.

Then there was the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse at Disney World, an attraction that closed years ago. The idea of maximizing space like that and making it livable fascinated me. No it was not an exciting attraction, but it was one we never missed.

Tennessee Once Laid Claim to the World's Largest Treehouse

My admiration for all that goes into constructing a good treehouse was the main reason I was attracted to a Facebook post about a creepy but beautiful old abandoned treehouse in Crossville TN. It was, as it turns out, the world's largest.

And I'm not exactly sure treeHOUSE is the right word. That thing looks more like a tree HOTEL. It was called the Minister's Treehouse because, well, it was built by a minister. His name is Horace Burgess and he got started on it in the early 90s. It began with 80 rooms before Burgess began adding to it. And it became such a high-profile endeavor that lumber donations started coming in.

The World's Largest Treehouse Welcomed All Visitors

Built as what I might call a monument to God, based on the prayers Burgess said regarding the project, the 97-foot tall structure was naturally an attractive destination for sightseers. Seriously. "Welcome" and "no smoking" were the only signs on the treehouse. Anyone could visit...until 2012, according to Travel and Leisure:

It was open to the public for anyone to visit for free. However the Tennessee State Fire Marshall shut down the tree house in 2012. It had become overrun with tourists and was labeled a fire safety hazard because it didn’t have sprinklers or a fire alarm. But that didn’t stop people from coming to see it unofficially.

Sadly, the World's Largest Treehouse Is No Longer With Us

But people no longer come to see it unofficially. You might have noticed that I said the treehouse WAS the world's largest. That's because, sadly, it burned to the ground in 2019.

It's interesting. While I mildly mourn the loss of such an unusual landmark, I'm simultaneously amused by its creator's take on the fire. After it burned, Burgess told the New York Times, "It's always been a pain."

But hey, treehouse aficionados, not to worry. The world's largest treehouse RESORT is also located in Tennessee. You'll just have to drive a little farther down Interstate 40.

50 Rock Landmarks Every Fan Should Visit

From famous recording studios to legendary venues, these are must-see places.

Gallery Credit: Allison Rapp

More From WBKR-FM