Archive for April, 2010

April 30, 2010

Treehouses Have Come A Long Way

My friend Alan reminded me that we were first introduced to treehouses in the early seventies when we happened upon a tribe of hippies on the island of Kuaui. We were on a small surfing jag and the last thing we expected to see were people living in the trees. But we rolled with it and went about our business. Here’s some info about the legendary “Taylor Camp”. Check out the documentary when you can.

As Ha‘ena State Park was coming into being with the break-up of the Hui Ku‘ai ‘Aina, actress Elisabeth Taylor’s brother purchased a parcel of coastal land in the area. As Carlos tells it, Howard Taylor went to acquire building permits to construct a home on the property. However, the State would not grant him such a permit, since they were planning to condemn the land. At the same time, however, they insisted that he still pay full taxes on the land. In disgust, Taylor turned the land over to the “flower power people.” Drifting young drop-outs from the outside world came to this piece of land and gradually came to form a makeshift community that took the name “Taylor Camp”…

…”By 1972 there were 21 permanent houses at Taylor Camp. All of them were tree houses since local authorities would not issue them permits for ground dwellings. Some of these structures were quite elaborate indeed, with large bamboo pole foundations, clapboard siding, and windows facing the sea. In addition to the houses in the camp there was a communal shower, an open air toilet, a small church, and even a cooperative store which operated on and off until the camp’s closing…
…”The large amounts of metal and glass trash, and the fact that the garden area of the camp, even during its most intense planting, couldn’t have supported even one-fourth of the residents of Taylor Camp, both suggested to us that the camp, despite its isolation, had to be dependent on a traditional American cash economy.” Pacific Worlds

April 30, 2010

Opening Volley


The word “treehouse” conjures up feelings in most people that takes them right back to their childhood. Whether you actually had a treehouse or access to one you know that feeling, when all of one’s imaginary worlds were real and all it took to become a pirate, cowboy, or wizard was a good friend to play along.

When I arrived at the treehouse building site in March of ’09 I was cold, hungry and mesmorized by the beautiful setting our treehouse was going to be built on. The Poplar tree that was chosen by the builder Dan Wright was a majestic, mature tree that rose sixty or so feet in the air. From the site the view was serene. A small cluster of similar trees that dotted the rolling landscape to the edge of the Delaware River. I could just picture the children who would be there that summer playing in the treehouse and using a zip-line from the treehouse balcony through the woods to another tree on the bank of the river.

Clearing the Ivy

I met Dan and his partner Gary Koontz and we introduced ourselves and started to discussed the project. I was relieved to know that I had made a fantastic choice to build the treehouse. We had five days to finish. So Dan and Gary dove right in. It was twenty-eight degrees outside, the tree had a huge vine of poison ivy wrapped around it and I had a camera and zero knowledge of what was about to happen