Tree Mansion of Archibald Walk – Washington, D.C. - Atlas Obscura
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Tree Mansion of Archibald Walk

Depending on who you ask, this controversial treehouse is either a charmingly creative child's playhouse or an illegal encroachment on public land. 

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This cheerful and rather fully-featured treehouse slightly overhangs a pedestrian pathway known as Archibald Walk in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C., but an ongoing legal battle could determine its fate

Some neighbors have objected to the treehouse’s existence, since it overhangs a public right of way (by about 20 inches), and have lobbied for its removal. The owners thought they had gotten all the correct permits before building it, but things got complicated after the neighbors pushed for its removal. 

In 2016 after pressure from neighbors, the District Department of Transportation apparently did order the treehouse removed, but the owners were able to obtain a temporary permit that saved the treehouse, and most of the neighbors who objected either moved away or abandoned their campaign by late 2016.

However, since the city was now involved, the treehouse’s future remained uncertain. The owners say that teams of attorneys representing the city would show up year after year tasked with finding a legal reason to remove the treehouse.

The owners have taken their countersuit against the city all the way to federal court, where they say they faced seven senior attorneys before finally getting the city to allow the treehouse to remain for at least long enough for their children to grow up. The treehouse has had community support in many ways, from monetary donations and verbal support to free pruning and lots of D.C.-area press.

Know Before You Go

Please note that the treehouse is on private property in a residential area. Please don't disturb the neighbors or access the treehouse without permission! It's hard to miss from the outside as you walk Archibald's Walk.

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