When you’re in northern California’s Redwood Country, you’re not only going to be surrounded with giant towering redwood trees and massive redwood trunks, but redwood themed roadside attractions, including a variety of homes and unique spaces built inside hollowed out redwood trunks, including The Chimney Tree, The Eternal Treehouse, the One Log House, and the World Famous Tree House.
Originally named The Fraternal Monarch and later the Quadruped Tree, the World Famous Treehouse was featured in Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not in 1933, claiming to be the tallest one-room house in the world.
It is built inside a 4,000 year old redwood tree that has been hollowed out into a 21×27 foot room with a 500 foot tall ceiling. Even though this enormous redwood tree was struck by a lightning thousands of years ago and had the opening expanded to create a single room home inside it’s base, the tree is still alive.
When visiting the World Famous Tree House, you enter through the attached Gift Shop that sells all sorts of souvenirs, nick-knacks, gifts and redwood items. From the door and register area you can actually see into the tree house, but if you want to go inside it costs $2.00/person or $5.00/family.
The family before us told us that once inside you can’t see anything more than you can peeking in from the gift shop, but we paid the $5.00 to enter anyway because Carter collects pressed pennies and inside the tree house, there is a collection of antique quarter-operated machines and pressed penny machines! Plus, we were already here and we wanted to go inside.
Standing inside the treehouse, you can still see the charcoal on inside the tree from the lightning strike and fire. With a single light bulb hanging near the opening to go inside, it was dark, musty, and a bit eerie feeling — and with all four of inside, it felt a bit cramped.
Was it worth it for $5.00? Yep, all because of the pennies.
The World Famous Tree House History
In the 1920s, the tree was turned into a room with doors and windows and became one of the earliest tourist attractions in the area.
In 1925, Minnie Stoddard Lilley and her husband William bought the property that included the tree. When construction began the new Redwood Highway in 1929, convicts who were working to build the road lived temporarily inside the tree. When the highway was completed, the first gift shop was opened inside the tree. Then, in 1933, the tree house was named the World’s Tallest Home in a Ripley’s Believe It or Not cartoon. Over time, it became known as the World Famous Tree House.
Eventually, with new owners, the gift shop was moved to an adjacent building and the main entrance was closed and moved to an opening inside the gift shop. The roadside attraction changed hands again in 2000 and the new owners began charging a fee to go inside the World Famous Tree House.
Know Before You Go
- The World Famous Tree House is located at 74800 US Highway 101, in Piercy, California 95587 in Mendocino County. It is on the west side of the highway halfway between Piercy and Leggett.
- Admission is $2.00/person or $5.00/family (cash only) to enter the World Famous Tree House.
- Bring a few quarters for the old, antique panoramic miniatures and picture machines and come prepared in you’re a pressed penny collector!
- Clean restrooms are available.
- If you’re visiting in the summer, you should find the tree house and gift shop open in the middle of the day, but in the winter, you should call ahead at 707-925-6406.