History of the treehouse

For a lot of grown-ups, tree house were a childhood dream. A safe place , an outdoor palace, a dream home in the backyard. Although history has no evidence of when the first tree house was built, they can be traced back to the ancient civilization, more than 40000 years ago.

Illustration of an old treehouse (Die Gartenlaube, 1887)

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Long before they were a thing of fun and pleasure the tree house was a used permanent living accommodation, a home. They were built worldwide, wherever trees grow. Tree houses were used as shelters with a great view, practical for keeping families and their food safe from sneaking animals and floods.

Treehouse between the branches Photo Credit


A treehouse in Marayur, Kerala, India

The majority of Indonesian tribes Korowai and Papua still live in tree houses. They are between 10 and 40 meters high in the canopy of the Banyan trees, big enough to hold up to 10 members of a family and protect them from threatening tribes and wild animals.

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Korowai treehouse Photo Credit


Treehouse of the Korowai tribe in Papua New Guinea Photo Credit


Korowai treehouse Photo Credit

In the Middle ages Franciscan and Hindu monks used tree houses for living in and for meditation. During the Renaissance period tree houses became very popular in Europe, especially in Italy. They adorned many gardens and the famous Italian Banking family – The House of Medici  had a tree house in one of their villas which was admired by all their visitors. It was built in  an oak tree, had its own spiral staircase and a fountain near it.

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Treehouse Photo Credit

Le Plessis-Robinson, a French commune located in the suburbs of Paris, became very popular in the 19th and early 20th Century for its chestnut tree house restaurants and taverns covered with roses. It was a place near the river where chic Parisians gladly go to relax, enjoy the nature, food, drinks and cheerful music in the middle of the leaves, away from crowded streets and grand boulevards.

Tree houses became a significant part of the culture in Tudor England. One of the oldest tree houses in England, constructed in the 16th Century, still exists in its original Tudor style. This house is known for its most famous guest Queen Victoria in 1832, while she was a young Princess. It was built in a lime tree at Pitchford Hall in Shropshire. Queen Elizabeth I also had her tree house, mostly used for dinners.

16th century Pitchford Hall, England Photo Credit


Treehouse built for children Photo Credit


Treehouse in a backyard Photo Credit


Public treehouse for children Photo Credit

Long ago, life in a tree house was a necessity. Today, it’s a matter of choice and Treehouses are present in every part of the world in every form of the  imagination. Except for countless private ones, there are a lot of public tree houses like restaurants, teahouses, playgrounds for children or even hotels. As a symbol of life in symbiosis with nature tree houses will probably never lose their charm.