Kids like to play in treehouses. (Iijjccoo/GNU FDL)

Kids like to play in treehouses. (Iijjccoo/GNU FDL)

The Treehouse at Pitchford is the oldest treehouse still standing. (Handout)

The Treehouse at Pitchford is the oldest treehouse still standing. (Handout)

This portrait of Princess Victoria was painted not long after she wrote about visiting the treehouse.

This portrait of Princess Victoria was painted not long after she wrote about visiting the treehouse.

These treehouses in Le Plessis-Piquet, France, were used as restaurants.

These treehouses in Le Plessis-Piquet, France, were used as restaurants.

The Korowai tribe builds treehouses too.

The Korowai tribe builds treehouses too.

Famous Treehouses around the World

Posted: November 1, 2021

Many kids use treehouses to play house. But once, most treehouses were real houses. People all over the world used them. Wherever there were trees, there were treehouses. Why? Treehouses kept people and their food up high. There, they were safe from wild animals and floods. In Southeast Asia, families came and went from their treehouse homes by riding in baskets up and down the tree trunks.

As time went by, people used treehouses more for fun, fashion, and even faith. In the Middle Ages, monks’ treehouses were spots to get away from the world and pray. During the Renaissance, people built treehouses for decoration in their gardens. Today, brave visitors can stay in treehouse Airbnbs for a night or two—but rare are those who actually want to live in them.

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. — Proverbs 18:10

  • England. A princess sits in the Treehouse at Pitchford. She’s watching foxhounds through the window. She’ll one day become Queen Victoria of England. The treehouse she enjoyed is today the oldest treehouse in the world. It has been hanging around in its large-leaved lime tree since at least 1692. At first, the tree did all the work of holding up the treehouse. Now metal supports and wires make sure this great-grandfather of a treehouse stays up.
     
  • France. In 1848, restaurant owners in Le Plessis-Piquet, France, took their cues from the treehouse described in The Swiss Family Robinson. Tourists came from nearby Paris to eat among the branches of tall chestnut trees. The idea got popular. More restaurants popped up, complete with treehouses and swings. Sadly, none of the restaurants remain—just some leftover boards hanging from the trees.
     
  • Indonesia. Amusement aside—some people groups do still live in treehouses. To protect themselves from rival tribes, the Korowai tribe in Indonesia builds treehouses up to 140 feet in the air. Stilts hold up their homes nestled among the branches. They can be reached by wooden ladders. To count as a treehouse, a structure must make use of trees for support. The Korowai homes count. A Banyan tree forms the central pole of a Korowai treehouse. The bark of sago palm makes up the floor and walls, and the roof is made from leaves.