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Iowa from the treetops


When I was little I always impatiently awaited my next chance to play in my friend’s tree house, which we would stay in until the setting sun forced us both inside. Today, I explored a tree house in Marshalltown, Iowa that made my friend’s one-room tree house seem like a dollhouse.

What started out as a hobby has turned into an attraction drawing people from all over the world. The man with a vision, Mick Jurgensen, built this tree house mansion with very little construction experience. As his grandmother gave me a tour of the sprawling 55-foot high house, she told stories of Jurgensen’s early fascination with constructing miniature structures out of wood and Lego blocks so elaborate they came complete with their own water pump system.

The childhood fantasy come true known as the Big Treehouse seemed even livable, with 12 floors, a television, grill, running water and zany fun decorations at every turn. After today’s enjoyable tours of Pella and Marshalltown, I anticipate more Iowa gems tomorrow at Waterloo, Dyersville and Dubuque.